Kaspersky conducted a study based on anonymous operating system metadata provided voluntarily by Kaspersky Security Network users.
The survey found that nearly a quarter (20%) of computer users are still using the old Windows 7 operating system, which Microsoft stopped supporting in January 2020.
Developing companies stop issuing updates to their operating systems, which include important security patches, when the life cycle of these systems ends.
Although a reliable operating system may look good because it gets the job done, it may become vulnerable to attacks if the manufacturer no longer provides it with the necessary support.
When operating systems reach their end-of-life, the vulnerabilities will no longer receive the necessary patches to protect the system, which could give digital attackers access to the technical ecosystem. Therefore, care should be taken to update operating systems to protect networks, technical systems, and devices.
Among those who still use the Windows 7 system, it occupies the consumer segment (20%), the small and medium-sized enterprises segment (15%) and the very small business segment (22%).
It should be noted that nearly a quarter of very small companies still use the old operating system, although they do not have technical personnel whose responsibilities are limited to digital security, which makes the need to update the operating system more urgent.
Currently, companies can still get extended support for Windows 7, but that means additional expenses and it won’t be available forever.
The results of the Kaspersky study showed that only a small percentage, less than 1% of individuals and companies, are still using older operating systems, such as Windows XP and Vista, which ended support in 2014 and 2017, respectively. Overall, nearly a quarter of users (21%) still use Windows without basic support.
In contrast, 74% of users use Windows 10, the latest version of Windows, which also appears to be the most secure option.
Oleg Gorepts, Kaspersky’s senior director of product marketing, said that updating the operating system may seem a bother to many, but he indicated that operating system updates are not only present to correct errors or update the user interface, explaining that they provide corrections for those errors that can open the way for Cyber criminals to enter technical systems.
He added: «Even if the user thinks that he is alert and protected while connected to the Internet, updating the operating system is an essential element of security that cannot be compromised, regardless of the presence of any security solution from a third party.
And if the operating system is out of date, it will not be able to receive important updates, and in easier words it can be said that if your house is old and dilapidated, then there is no need to install a new and strong door, but rather it makes sense to soon find a new home. With the same logic, there is a need to take the same position when it comes to ensuring the security of the operating system that you trust with your valuable data.
Knowing the risks of an out-of-date operating system is a good start to solving the problem, but it is important to work on this knowledge as the smart way to end it. Therefore, Kaspersky recommends that you follow the following measures to protect yourself or your company:
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