How To Use Safely Windows XP

My church has. But that operating system (OS) dropped all support from Microsoft on April 8, 2014.

Without regular security upgrades, WinXP machines are now a lot more vulnerable to being hacked. We are left with the option of choosing another OS, updating to a more recent version of Windows, or sticking with WinXP.

Updating to Windows 7 or 8.1 is just not a choice for our little church. Our classic (read older ) computers are totally sufficient for our purposes. However, not one of the newest Windows versions will operate them on, and purchasing new hardware is simply not something our funding will allow at this moment.

So, I've been exploring what options we have that can enable us to keep on running our software without costing us more money. There Appear to be just two possibilities that are realistic:

  1. Proceed to conduct Windows XP although it is no longer supported by Microsoft. This entails learning how to survive with a considerably enlarged exposure to malware (viruses and so on ) and coughing.
  2. Switch into a free and supported open source operating system like Ubuntu Linux. Doing so would require our volunteers to understand new methods of doing things which will not be quite as convenient as they're utilized to.

After doing a great deal of research, I have developed a strategy that largely entails sticking with WinXP, but also is based on some small extent on using Ubuntu for performing crucial on-line purposes.

Kinds of Attacks:
There are two ways in. One is the"phishing" attack where the intention is to deceive the user into providing sensitive information, like passwords and logins, or private data such as a bank account PIN or even a Social Security number. This kind of"social engineering" attack likely won't change considerably today that WinXP is not any longer supported because the purpose of vulnerability is truly the individual instead of the technology.

My concern is mainly with the way the hacker might attempt to insert malware (viruses, trojan horses and so on ) on our computers. After that goal is reached, an attacker has successfully attained complete control of the machine without the user having any idea what is happening. And that is really where a WinXP machine that's no longer getting security upgrades becomes exceptionally vulnerable.


Continuing's Hazards to Use WinXP Following the Withdrawal of Service of Microsoft

The headline at a Time Magazine article says it all about what computer security specialists anticipate today that Microsoft support of Windows XP has finished: Windows XP to be a Hacker's Dream in 2014.

The cause of that dire prognosis is that because the end-of-support date, Microsoft no longer provides security upgrades to repair the vulnerabilities that, even after over a dozen years of usage, continue to be frequently located in WinXP.

In reality, specialists expect that Microsoft itself will unintentionally lead to hackers discovering previously unknown WinXP vulnerabilities. Windows 7 and 8.1 both utilize a great deal of code inherited from WinXP. When safety upgrades to those new versions of Windows are published, hackers may reverse engineer them to know the vulnerabilities they're designed to mend, then check to find out whether the very same vulnerabilities exist in WinXP.

Zero-Day Forever!
That results in what the specialists call the scenario that is eternal. "Zero-day" describes the period between the discovery of a stage of an attack and also the time when a repair is released because of it. Together with WinXP support now finished, vulnerabilities will last to be discovered, but no repairs for them will be coming. Hackers may continue to exploit those openings for provided that WinXP stays in usage.

That is the reason why experts are nearly unanimous in their information that should at all possible, users must migrate from WinXP to among those newer Windows systems.

However, for people for whom migrating across the Windows update path isn't a feasible option, I think there are measures we could take to minimize our vulnerability to the hacker tragedy WinXP's lack of service could cause.

Here's what we're doing to create the computers in our church much more protected.

1. Ensure That
Now that Microsoft service has finished, no updates to WinXP itself will probably be accessible. This makes it more important than ever supporting software that keep the working system protected be kept current.

Microsoft Security Essentials and the Malicious Software Removal Tool

Microsoft Security Basics (MSE) is a free program designed to supply real-life defense from malware getting onto your PC. The Malicious Software Removal Tool (MSRT) is a free utility which checks for malware which can already be installed in your own computer and helps eliminate it.

Microsoft will continue to upgrade MSRT and MSE. MSRT utilized and may be downloaded. If you do not have MSE, then you can not get it! When Microsoft finished their WinXP service, they also eliminated the download links for MSE. But if you have MSE, then you are able to continue to make use of it.

Update Different programs

Any programs which will last to be employed in your WinXP system ought to be updated and kept up to date for so long as WinXP-compatible upgrades are readily available. But you have to be ready to start dropping as time continues XP service.

You may want to take a look at a free app, Secunia Software Inspector, which helps identify programs which have to be updated and provides hyperlinks to update websites.

Where possible, substitute Microsoft programs with source equivalents

With the conclusion of WinXP service, programs like Microsoft's Media Player which are installed with the operating system or using the Internet Explorer browser might no longer get updates. We're using free, open source equivalents like the VLC media player.

Keep software Current

Usage of antivirus applications is the first line of defense in preserving security. Since obsolete antivirus software is basically useless, maintaining these apps currently is an absolute requirement.

A range of sellers of antivirus programs that were free has declared their support of WinXP. Avast and AVG, by way of instance, have claimed to keep their service.


2. Use Just Google's Chrome (Or Mozilla's Firefox) Since the Internet Browser
The amount one route by which hackers try to receive their malware is via the internet browser. A browser with insufficient security produces a computer exposed to what's known as"drive-by downloads" where the malicious application is installed and implemented only by visiting an infected site. The consumer might be wholly unaware that the downloading took place.

The most secure web browser now is Microsoft's Internet Explorer 10. However, IE-10 isn't a choice since the newest variant supported on WinXP is IE-8, that falls well short in its own safety capabilities.

Now, Google's Chrome gets got the reputation of being the most secure browser available for WinXP, using Mozilla's Firefox a near second. Internet safety reporter Brian Krebs recently published the consequences of analysts' findings seeing an entry kit (software offered in the underground market to be used by hackers from victimizing unsuspecting PC users) known as Styx:

One quite intriguing pattern I discovered in poking this tap pack -- and many others lately -- is that the diminishing incidence or complete lack of documented ailments from Google Chrome users, and to lesser extent users of current versions of Mozilla Firefox. If you want any kind of help regarding Mozilla Firefox then do contact us. Mozilla Firefox support phone number.

This Styx installment accounts installing malware on programs of just a few of Firefox users, and contrary to not just one Chrome user. In reality, the writer of the kit openly says in a Q&A by a subterranean forum revenue thread his kit does not even work against Chrome.

Google has committed to continuing to encourage WinXP at least until July 2015, while Mozilla says they don't have any plans at this opportunity to finish Firefox WinXP support.


3. Use Gmail for Mail
Microsoft email products such as Outlook or Outlook Express dropped their service in precisely the exact same period as WinXP and should no more be utilized. Our church has depended on Gmail, Google's free online email support, as our regular.

We picked Gmail since it benefits from each of the muscle Google can bring to bear on the dilemma of email safety. The malware scanning in Gmail is very comprehensive, loosely implemented on the human body and attachments (such as photos ) of emails, and always updated with the greatest anti-malware methods out there.

Using Gmail enables all that great anti-virus filtering to happen prior to a malicious email even gets downloaded into our PCs.

4. Disable Vulnerable Browser Plugins Like Java, Flash Player, and Adobe Reader
Java is used widely by sites to display their information. Nonetheless, it's well-known for harboring security vulnerabilities. The two Chrome and Firefox currently disable Java by default, requiring an individual to generate an explicit choice to let it operate on reputable sites.


Due to the security vulnerabilities from Adobe's Flash Video player and its own Reader program for viewing pdf documents, the Chrome browser today has these abilities built in, so the Flash and Reader add-ons are no more essential to execute all these functions.

Experts recommend that if you never use these browser plugins or add-ons you uninstall them to decrease the number of potential openings that your PC gifts to an attacker. Just by being current in your pc they place it in danger.

5. Use Both Software and Hardware Firewalls
According to Microsoft, "The best and significant first step you can take to help safeguard your personal computer would be to turn a firewall"

A firewall acts like a safety officer determining that can move in and out and safeguarding every entrance and exit of the assumptions. Thus, the firewall functions to restrict that external sources can obtain access to this computer on the world wide web, and what information the computer can send out.

Computer system firewalls are implemented both in software and hardware, and both should be used.

Our church system includes a router with an integrated hardware firewall. Additionally, we will apply an application firewall. Considering that WinXP's built-in firewall became unsupported when WinXP failed, we're installing the ZoneAlarm free version as our software antivirus.

6. Keep Documents
Our programs are all linked with complimentary Dropbox cloud system accounts [see the way to use Dropbox as a no-cost Cloud Network to get a little Church]. Records stored into the Dropbox folder on some of those machines are automatically synced on another device in our system, and also saved at the"Cloud"

This provides several benefits. To begin with, all files are available on any church pc. Secondly, because files are stored not just locally, but also on Dropbox's servers they are backed up with no extra effort on the part. And Dropbox retains several versions of every document, when a document is corrupted, allowing recovery.

We get the Dropbox folder on our programs as another drive -- in our case, the N: drive. By ensuring to store crucial files or documents just to that driveway, we ought to have the ability to recover even if at least one of our servers is compromised.


7. Permit Users to Log in Just Under a Non-Administrator Account
Accounts with Administrator privileges have access. That usually means that malware may do damage, and has unrestricted access. The accounts utilized on daily basis administrators or by consumers shouldn't have privileges.

Here are

  • To be able to log into a password will be required by each account.
  • The accounts below won't have Administrator privileges.
  • Administrators can perform the majority of their job logged in as a user. Administrator accounts will be used just.
  • Administrator accounts won't carry. Hackers start looking for reports with this name and use many procedures to try to ascertain the password. You may also set up dummy accounts bearing the Administrator title to divert possible intruders from the actual one. An additional benefit of this is that any effort to get the dummy accounts can act as an alarm that the pc has been targeted on the intrusion.

8. Use Program and Internet Site Whitelisting
Program whitelisting, allowing only software to operate on the pc is supported by WinXP. No other people, such as malware that is downloaded, will probably be permitted to execute.

Browser whitelisting permits a user. The two Firefox and Chrome have add-ons for whitelisting.

Considering our church computers have been anticipated to operate a limited collection of applications, we'll set our program whitelists up into conducting those programs to limit our machines. We'll also recognize a set of sites which may reasonably be obtained for church organization, and limit our browsers to just that listing.

When overall web browsing is needed, as it sometimes is, it'll be achieved by logging in below Ubuntu.


9. Teach Users in Safe Internet Practices
To operate with WinXP's post-support vulnerabilities, users might need to be more cautious in their use of the net. Below are a few practices.

  • No internet surfing church computers, without any browsing to sites. This may be enforced through site whitelisting. (Unrestricted net surfing can be achieved by logging in below Ubuntu instead of WinXP).
  • Heed browser warnings about sites that are malicious or malicious!
  • Never get anything! And not click requests -- report them.
  • Never use WinXP for tasks like banking. Such acts will be accomplished under Ubuntu.
  • No loading of documents from the house using USB memory sticks (or floppies).
  • No accessing of private websites, such as Twitter and Facebook.
  • Never allow Flash, Java, and so on, even if the browser requests.


WinXP Might Need to Be Replaced
In fact, we all know that all these steps are stopgaps. Though millions of computers across the globe continue to utilize WinXP, it's well into the process of getting extinct. In a couple of decades, sellers of critical applications, like anti-virus and adware apps, may be expected to follow Microsoft's lead and shed WinXP service entirely.

We will take advantage. But at exactly the exact same time, we are going to be looking for the day if nothing we could do will maintain WinXP feasible as our operating system of choice.

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