BNMC Blog

Unpatched Windows is Like Leaving Your Car Door Open in a Sketchy Parking Garage at Night with Wads of Cash in the Driver’s Seat

Unpatched Windows is Like Leaving Your Car Door Open in a Sketchy Parking Garage at Night with Wads of Cash in the Driver’s Seat

I recently read a statement from the National Security Agency (NSA) expressing concerns over the risks and vulnerabilities that come with running unpatched versions of older Windows operating systems. First, you know it’s serious if the NSA, an entity in the US who depends on the collection and processing of information, is worried that your personal information is at risk. Second, it’s another in a long line of reasons to not allow your network to fall into such disarray that you can no longer protect it.

Why Are Windows Updates So Important?

Microsoft Windows is complex software. It needs to be. In order to do everything, we need it to do every day, and work with everything we need it to work with, it contains a lot of features and capabilities baked in.

The more complex your software is, the more chances there are that someone out there could find a vulnerability. This happens all the time, and when vulnerabilities are discovered, good software developers will quickly build an update that fixes them before they are exploited.

That’s what Windows updates are. Sure, there are new features being added in many of the updates as well, but the security patches are what is truly critical.

**Please note that sometimes it isn’t a good idea to just let Windows updates run automatically. Sometimes an update can break something else (like a third-party application or internal workflow). It’s best to test updates before deploying them across your network.

Problems Get Exposed as they are Fixed

Let me give you a more old-school example. Way back in the day, you used to be able to ‘hack’ a vending machine with fake coins called slugs. To combat this, new vending machines were created that had multiple sensors to measure and analyze the coin in real time to determine if it were real. When these new machines were released, they were also might newer looking than the old school, hackable vending machines. Word got out about how easily the older machines could accept a slug and encouraged people to seek them out to get free beverages.

What can we take away from this?

  • If you owned an old vending machine, you were at risk of being hacked.
  • Older vending machines were targeted by people who knew that they were hackable, as opposed to the new vending machines that weren’t as easily exploitable.
  • Risk increased as time went on if you owned an older vending machine.
  • How often do you see vending machines that even take coins these days? I’m dating myself.

When Microsoft releases security updates, this exposes the vulnerability to the world. This includes hackers. This means everyone is on bought time once an update comes out, because hackers know that not everyone will update.

Older Operating Systems Have the Highest Risk

If you are running a version of Windows (or any software) that has reached the end of its developmental and support life, you are playing with fire.

For example, if you are still running Windows Vista (please, I hope you aren’t) then Microsoft’s mainstream support ended in April 2012. They offered extended support up until April 2017.

Mainstream support is when Microsoft is still providing features, security updates, patching bugs, and more. Extended support is when Microsoft stops adding new features and only provides bug fixes and patches, and only provided that you are on the exact version of the software or operating system that Microsoft says they are supporting.

Back to our example of running Windows Vista (my fingers crossed that this example is purely hypothetical and nobody is still using Vista), it’s pretty clear that Windows Vista was not the shining example of the perfect operating system and that by the end of life there were no flaws whatsoever for hackers to target. If you are running Vista now, you are constantly wide open for any threats that the operating system doesn’t have protections against.

Microsoft’s Upcoming Support Lifestyle End Dates

Here’s a list of the current operating system and server end-of-life dates.

Windows Operating System

Windows XP - April 8, 2014
Windows Vista - April 11, 2017
Windows 7 - January 14, 2020 (It’s coming up!)
Windows 8 - January 10, 2023
Windows 10 - Estimated for October 2025

Microsoft Server Operating Systems

Windows Server 2008 - July 12, 2011
Windows Server 2008 (SP2) - January 14, 2020 (just around the corner!)
Windows Server 2008 R2 - April 9, 2013
Windows Server 2008 R2 (SP1) - January 14, 2020 (It’s almost here!)
Windows Server 2012 - October 10, 2023
Windows Server 2012 R2 - October 10, 2023
Windows Server 2016 - January 11, 2027
Windows Server 2016 Semi-Annual Channel 1709 - Not announced yet
Windows Server 2016 Semi-Annual Channel 1803 - Not announced yet
Lync 2013 - April 11, 2023
Skype for Business 2015 - October 14, 2025

Microsoft SQL Server

SQL Server 2005 (SP4) - April 12, 2016
SQL Server 2008 (SP4) - July 9, 2019 (It’s HERE!)
SQL Server 2008 R2 - July 10, 2012
SQL Server 2008 (SP3) - July 9, 2019 (It’s HERE!)
SQL Server 2012 - January 14, 2014
SQL Server 2012 (SP3) - July 12, 2022
SQL Server 2014 - July 12, 2016
SQL Server 2014 (SP2) - July 9, 2024
SQL Server 2016 - January 9, 2018
SQL Server 2016 (SP1) - July 14, 2026
SQL Server 2017 - October 12, 2026

Exchange Server

Exchange 2007 - January 13, 2009
Exchange 2007 (SP3) - April 11, 2017
Exchange 2010 - October 11, 2010
Exchange 2010 (SP3) - January 14, 2020 (Get ready!)
Exchange 2013 - April 11, 2023
Exchange 2013 (SP1) - April 11, 2023
Exchange 2016 - October 14, 2025

SharePoint

SharePoint 2010 - July 10, 2012
SharePoint 2010 (SP2) - October 13, 2020 (Just over a year away!)
SharePoint 2013 - April 14, 2015
SharePoint 2013 (SP1) - April 11, 2023
SharePoint 2016 - July 14, 2026

If you are running outdated software, you are putting yourself, your business, your employees, and your clients at risk. Want help planning your next upgrade? Reach out to BNMC at 978-482-2020 to get an idea of what it will take.

 

Comments

No comments made yet. Be the first to submit a comment
Already Registered? Login Here
Guest
Wednesday, September 18 2019

Captcha Image

Subscribe to Our Blog!

Mobile? Grab this Article!

Qr Code

Tag Cloud

Tip of the Week Security Best Practices Technology Business Computing Cloud Email User Tips Privacy Computer Microsoft Malware Network Security Google Software Productivity Hackers Hosted Solutions Business Data Tech Term Communication Hardware Small Business Ransomware Mobile Devices Internet Cloud Computing IT Services Efficiency IT Support Data Recovery Smartphone Workplace Tips Backup Windows Upgrade Android Saving Money Managed IT Services Innovation Microsoft Office Data Backup Users Information Social Media Business Continuity Office 365 Managed IT Services Outsourced IT Windows 10 Smartphones Internet of Things Data Management Miscellaneous Server Mobile Device Business Management Browser Windows 10 Word Passwords Productivity Facebook Cybersecurity Phishing communications Vulnerability Gmail App Encryption VoIP Chrome Remote Monitoring Artificial Intelligence Infrastructure Network Disaster Recovery BYOD Employer-Employee Relationship Tip of the week Apps Managed Service Provider Gadgets Managed Service Analytics Save Money Virtual Reality Applications Website Money IT Support Company Culture Big Data Google Drive Display Employee-Employer Relationship Content Filtering Settings Bandwidth Development Antivirus Apple Education Paperless Office Robot Storage Automation YouTube VPN Risk Management Unified Threat Management Access Control Router Hacker Data storage IT Management Office Tips Government Maintenance Quick Tips Bring Your Own Device Operating System Holiday The Internet of Things WiFi Computers Tablet Virtualization LiFi Document Management Hosted Solution Retail Alert MSP Augmented Reality Downtime Managing Stress Wireless Administration Solid State Drive Mouse Two-factor Authentication Avoiding Downtime Monitors Scam Vendor Management Hard Disk Drive OneNote Chromebook HIPAA Search Networking Printing Mobile Security End of Support Data loss Telephone Systems Data Security Business Intelligence Business Technology desktop Server Management Virtual Private Network Touchscreen SaaS Computing Collaboration Outlook Firewall Laptop Spam Troubleshooting Regulations Business Analysis How To Lenovo Language iOS Value Statistics Spying Mirgation National Security Recycling Budget Spyware Mail Merge Blockchain Security Cameras IoT Social Uninterrupted Power Supply Dark Data Downloads Update Information Technology Computer Care IBM Shortcut Distributed Denial of Service Human Error Cookies Memory Typing File Sharing Humor VoIP Unified Threat Management Analysis Students K-12 Schools Social Networking Virus Best Practice Firefox Superfish Politics Cybercrime Computing Infrastructure Scalability Professional Services Current Events Bluetooth Comparison Chatbots Updates eWaste Identity Theft Address Permissions Managed Services Star Wars Customer Service Marketing Training Corporate Profile Patch Management Office Managed IT Service Samsung Device Nanotechnology Reducing Cost Cryptocurrency User Error Private Cloud Wearable Technology Mixed Reality Network upgrade Specifications LED Motherboard Threats Cables Automobile Google Docs Customer Relationship Management Tech Support Alerts Migration USB IT solutions Going Green G Suite PowerPoint Identity Continuity Fraud Laptops Cost Management Hacks Dell Heating/Cooling Multi-Factor Security Google Wallet WannaCry Social Engineering Break Fix Mobility Screen Reader Batteries Charging Bitcoin Cabling Time Management Printer Halloween Data Breach Smart Office Black Friday Co-Managed IT BDR Wires Business Growth Google Maps Websites Licensing Windows 7 Dongle Onboarding GDPR Solar Legal Emergency Software as a Service Assessment Password Servers Google Calendar Unified Communications Drones Safety Dark Web Print Toner Smart Tech Windows 8 Network Management Scary Stories Slack Hard Disk Drives Work Cyber Monday Remote Computing Content Huawei Voice over Internet Protocol Running Cable Cooperation Messaging Service Level Agreement Buisness Digital Signage Compliance Data Warehouse Deep Learning Digital Payment Hotspot Entertainment Internet Exlporer Mobile Device Management Network Congestion Legislation Optimization Digital Microsoft Excel Virtual Desktop Shortcuts Connectivity Disaster SharePoint Sports Monitoring IT Technicians Solid State Drives Managed IT Writing Smart Technology Streaming Modem Processor FinTech Alt Codes Techology Wi-Fi Staff Employee-Employer Relationships Leominster Unsupported Software Mobile Computing CCTV Webcam Computer Repair Relocation Printers Error Mobile Data How To Work/Life Balance Point of Sale Ben McDonald shares Recovery Travel Health Black Market Supercomputer CrashOverride Law Enforcement Staffing Notifications Motion Sickness Electronic Medical Records Twitter Financial Administrator Physical Security Taxes IT Budget Upgrades Gadget Web Server what was your? Emoji GPS Crowdsourcing Myths Regulation Personal Information Botnet IT Consultant 3D Printing Cameras Cortana Tracking Meetings Cleaning Processors Machine Learning

What Our Clients Say

  • BNMC has provided us with nothing less than outstanding service and results for all of our IT needs for the past few years. Every member of their staff is professional, knowledgeable, friendly and eager to solve any problem...
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3