Microsoft Windows 7 Operating system is approaching 10 years of age and is no longer supported in January 2020. According to a recent survey by Net Applications 36.52% of desktop devices are still using the Windows 7 operating system, compared to 43.62% running Windows 10.
When Windows 7 was first launched ransomware attacks were not significant as they are today. However from 2011 Ransomeware had fully landed, with 60,000 strains detected that year. In 2012 that figure rose to 200,000. In 2017 the number of ransomeware rose to 2.25 million.
There is a significant threat to systems running Windows 7, which attacks through the motherboard UEFI BIOS itself. Its called LoJax and created by Sednit, the infamous Fancy Bear Russian hacker group, it works like a rootkit and exploits a vulnerability. Rather ironically, LoJack is software designed to help trace a stolen computer and remotely delete or block files when this has happened. The exploit targets the BIOS which then loads compromised binaries into the Windows OS when it boots. This can then be used as a trojan to download further malicious code into the system.
Since LoJax infects the UEFI BIOS, it doesn’t get deleted even if you wipe your main disk’s operating system, reformat the primary storage, and reinstall everything. It will simply reload itself from the UEFI BIOS on boot and be up and running again on your new, allegedly clean system. This is because the UEFI code resides on a firmware chip on the motherboard, not a peripheral storage device. However, UEFI was still only being developed when Windows 7 arrived. So whilst you can install Windows 7 on a UEFI-based motherboard, you can’t do so with Secure Boot Mode enabled, which helps prevent this kind of attack. So a Windows 7 system is naturally going to be more vulnerable.
PCs running Windows 10 can provide much greater security from today’s threats. This operating system was designed from the ground up with UEFI in mind, so works with the highest levels of BIOS-level security enabled. It will also continue to be patched and developed.
In summary, what does End of Microsoft support for Windows 7 look like?
- Security Risk -Without critical Windows 7 security updates, your PC may become vulnerable to harmful viruses, spyware, and other malicious software which can steal or damage your business data and information. Anti-virus software will also not be able to fully protect you once Windows 7 itself is unsupported.
- Software Issues -Many software and hardware vendors will no longer support their products that are running on Windows 7 as they are unable to get the Windows 7 and Office 2010 updates. For example, the new Office leverages the modern Windows and will not run on Windows 7.
- No One to Call – When problems arise, online and phone-based technical support will unfortunately no longer be available to assist you or your IT partner, leaving you on your own to deal with the problem.
- Down Time – The risks of system failure and business disruption could increase because of the end of support, lack of supported software, and the increasing age of hardware running Windows 7.
As a Microsoft Partner we have the resources to make sure your Windows 7 to 10 migration is successful.
We’re able to assist with:
- New computer procurement
- Software installations
- Computer Setup
- Data transfer, including system settings, user data, email data, etc…
- Training as needed
- Ongoing support
- And any other migration needs
Please call us for practical advice on this and ensure your systems are more secure.