March 28, 2014

The end of XP

As you may or may not know, support for Windows XP ends April 8th.  That's coming up in about 10 days.  If you are running XP (yes you have a very old machine) then be prepared.  After the last update, there will be a spate of exploits sent out. 

I know there are people who can not (financially) move on to other machines so here are a few things you can try to keep the wolves at bay - so to speak. 

1. Get either Chrome or Firefox as a browser.  Don't argue with me that you love IE - doesn't matter. It is already a mess with holes in it. It will only get worse after support ends.  And don't tell me one of the above is better than the other... that doesn't matter either. What matters is they are both current browsers and both are continuing to update patches even if they run on old XP.

2. Put Ad Block Plus on your browser of choice.  When you go to the site, it determines the browser and will show you the plugin you need to apply.  Use it!  There will be malicious software being served up as ads on all kinds of sites - even so called "safe" sites. This includes the big ones like CBS, ABC, NBC, CNN etc.  This plugin will stop those ads from getting to you instead of you trying to clean up after them.  I know there are people trying to support their site via ads.  But you can't afford the price at the moment. One bad ad served by one site could brick your computer... how much does it help if you have no working computer?  BTW - on some of the news sites,  this plugin will keep videos from running.  Sorry about that. They are jerks about it and want to sell ads, even if you put your machine at risk.  Walk away. 

3. Add Web of Trust to the browser too.  It's not 100% fool proof, but they make an effort to scan for malware on sites and mark them.  If you hit a "red" site even by accident, it brings up a page to stop you before you go there.  Go read why it's marked as "red".  Most times it is because of malware.  Political sites are a bit iffy as opponents will mark the site "red" based on content.  But do check FIRST.  Don't assume a site is marked as bad simply because of content, WoT will tell you why if you take a moment to go look. 

4. If you download mail to your machine, get an antivirus program and run it (if you don't have one as yet).  Avast has a decently rated free program.  As with all AV - this will protect against old stuff not new, but there is still plenty of the old stuff wafting about the net. 

5.  Don't skip the last set of patches.  Get them all.  

6. Try to stay behind a good firewall like a home router if at all possible.  Don't connect to public networks with no decent firewall. 

7.  Last but not least. For those with enough tech savvy and some adventurous spirit, get a thumb drive and grab a copy of  Ubuntu Linux.  They have made things very easy and it might be exactly what you need to get you through until you can get a new machine with an updated OS. 

Good luck. 

**** UPDATE  Also Office 2003 support is ending too!  If you use this version of Office, you may want to either upgrade if you can or look at the free tools available.  They aren't as good, but they are up to date and patched.  There is Open Office   or Libre Office  along with Thunderbird for mail.  Look at Google for your calendar too.  These might help a bit if you can't afford Office 365. 

Posted by: Teresa in WebTech at 04:06 PM | No Comments | Add Comment
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