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Windows XP is it safe


Many visitors of this site have been using windows XP but Microsoft have withdrawn support for it as from April 08th 2014. The big question is will it still be safe to go online using this now outdated system. In the past any security issues discovered by Microsoft were fixed in their updates but this is no longer the case.Even using the system with a good virus protector may not mean 100% safety. As time goes by Hackers will more than likely find ways of penetrating the system and possibly place nasties such as key loggers on your computer meaning that your passwords can be stolen.One option is to upgrade to either Windows 7, 8 or even 10 but these options require plenty of Ram and a fast processor. If your machine is more than 8 years old it is unlikely to meet these requirements so expensive upgrades could be a waste of money. Indeed support for Windows 7 ends January 2015 however Microsoft look like extending this to 2020.Another option is to use a free program called Linux but the different types of Linux can make it difficult to know which system to use.Computers are much cheaper and more powerful than they were so this could be a better optionIt is quite possible to copy any files saved on Windows XP to a device such as an external hard drive and then transfer to the new computer. Programs designed for Windows XP may not run on Windows 7 etc. Outlook Express for instance is a Windows XP only program.This website will not run on an iPAD because it requires a flash player which the iPAD does not at present have.Most experts agree that it is only a matter of time before new vulnerabilties are discovered in Windows XP and used by hackers. Antivirus programs are unlikely to offer 100% protection against these attacks.We advise caution if you continue to use XP to surf the internet and read emails.One of the dangers of using XP is being targeted by something called Cryptolocker details are as follows:-Ransomware is one of the nastiest, most vindictive and costliest pieces of computer malware currently doing the rounds. It locks you out of your computer or encrypts your files, and then demands you pay for a password to unlock them.The situation is getting worse. Recent versions of ransonware even go to the depraved lengths of downloading child or kiddie type images to your computer and then demand large chunks of money to help you remove it.If people think they are safe by never opening an attachment in an email from somebody you do not know, be careful, some hackers send them from emails of people you know because imitating the names of others can unfortunately be done quite easily. Some attacks spread via instant messaging tools and adverts on websites. ( I do not allow adverts on our website for this reason) Even some smartphones are being infiltratedCRYPTOLOCKER is quite a common virus and has captured the data of millions of PCs around the world. It still remains a threat. In the main, the original CrytpolLocker (Names keep being changed and so does the spelling) was spread by tricking users into opening malicious email attachments or via botnets- legions of infected computers that are controlled by hackers.The virus software installs itself and then sets about encrypting all the files it can find on your computer. Including word documents, digital images and of course emails. It then pops up a page on your screen demanding payment usually within 3 days for which you will receive a password to unlock the files. Payment is usually about £200 but could be more. Normally bitcoin is used because it is harder for receivers to be traced.The virus is very cleverly designed, and although removing it from the computer is quite easy, the password still remains. It would take a supercomputer years to try and go through all the possible passwords. If you have not got a back up of all your files you would have to consider paying but there is no guarantee that the password would be sent on, after all they are criminals.How to protect yourself—Do regular backs of your files on a separate drive such as a usb key or external drive, but certainly not on the drive of the computer. Do not leave the back up drives attached to your computer for any other purpose than backing up the files, because the new version also looks for files on external drives, so back up and then keep somewhere ready for a rainy day as it were. Keep your anti-virus program up to date because they are all aware of this type of virus and try and keep up to date with them.To avoid infection, do NOT open any questionable attachments or any that you were not expecting. I have not done this as an attachment for obvious reasons. Some of the newer versions mask themselves as a free unlock code for sample programs such as Word or Adobe progs. One doing the rounds is YOURS.JPE.exe. In fact any links ending exe is usually suspect.POLICE RANSOMWARE – this locks your PC with a fake message from a local police force demanding the payment of a fine or fines for viewing iilegal content. Well known one is ICEPOL. Trojan. Ransomlock!g66.It works in a similar way to the one above and a fee is demanded. Most people pay but it is always a fake.Some legimate sites such as Daily Motion that most virus checkers give a clean bill of health to, sometimes flags up a warning that your computer has been infected and you should click on the link wmicrodefender27 to do a clean up but all it does is PUT a virus on your system. Even loading it in Safe Mode is no longer a guarantee of keeping the virus at bay which used to be the case.Norton anti virus owner Symantec estimates that so far 3% of users have paid up and they are currently blocking about 600,000 attacks by the virus each MONTH. Although the Police are well aware of all of this they seem very slow in bringing the criminals to book. In America it took 4 years to bring some of the rouges to account but others started in between time.The police and all the anti-virus programs advise regular back ups.Another little nasty is CoinVault which blocks your files but allows one free release and then charges to release the rest. The message displayed is " Your personal documents and files on this computer have just been encrypted"Back up your files to avoid this happening, because you can then delete the infected files and replace with a copy of the originals.

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