As Microsoft begins to wind down technical support for its longest-running and most popular operating system - Windows XP - there are many who are going to miss the imposed deadline. After April 8 of this year, the company will no longer offer support or upgrades for XP, including any quick-fix patches for smaller issues. This means that any computer still running on this 13-year-old system will be vulnerable to outside security hacks, including thousands of government computers in the United States.
According to a new report from the Washington Post, after the deadline passes, hundreds of thousands of government computers will still be left running on Windows XP. This leaves machines with potentially classified and important information completely open to cyber attacks. Federal agencies have known that Microsoft is going to pull support from XP for more than six years, but an estimated 10 percent of government computers will still be running on it after the April 8 date.
The computers that will still be on XP include those on highly classified diplomatic and military systems, according to U.S. officials. These networks have stronger defenses because of the possible information they hold, which means a potential breach from an outside force will be very serious should it happen. Security experts in the government and the tech world say that hackers have been compiling a list of vulnerabilities in the XP system that will be left open after April 8, essentially giving them a "skeleton key" to enter these networks remotely.
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