End of XP support…what do I do now????

The end of support for the Microsoft XP Operating system:  Microsoft no longer produces security patches for critical vulnerabilities in that operating system. As time goes on, more and more critical security holes will be found, and attackers will have free reign to exploit them. Software vendors will follow suite as they will no longer produce new software or updates for XP.

If you cannot upgrade now you should install Mozilla or Chrome browsers, import your favorites and use that path to get to your destination URLs.  Mozilla has no support end date but Chrome will at least hold support until next April. It would be advisable to keep check on your virus and malware protection (see my other posts), update Adobe Flash and Reader regularly and disable Java if you can live without it. XP users in reality should not use these even in current OS environments as hackers love to prey on security holes in these applications.

There is no question that your best choice is to upgrade or purchase a new PC. First you will need to verify the hardware on your  PC is compatible with Windows 7.  Visit this site and download the application to check. Keep in mind your software will have to be re-installed  and there may be issues there also. Microsoft has teamed up with a company called Laplink to help customers on XP prepare to move to a new PC. The free tool, called PCmover Express for Windows XP, will be available beginning this month and works by copying files and settings from Windows XP to a new device running Windows 7, Windows 8 or Windows 8.1.

There is a lot here to chew on. If you need any help we can make a smooth transition to whatever path you prefer; Windows 7, 8, (8.1), a new PC or MAC. Give us a call and we’ll get you back on track quickly and secure in your new environment.

           -> Michael S. Ziccardi

Protect your Mac

 Easy Ways to Protect Your Mac

Yes, malware is less prevalent on Macs than on Windows or Android. The reasons are –

  • Newer Macintosh operating systems, such as the Mac OS X, is built on the Unix kernel, which is one of the oldest and most secure operating systems available.
  • Microsoft Windows is used by a lot more people than the Apple Mac OS. Because more people use Microsoft Windows, it is a much better target and makes it easier for viruses to spread.
  • Most of the computer virus writers are more familiar with the IBM platform and Microsoft Windows, which means its easier for them create a virus for that platform.
  • But some people do get infected, and if you’re one of them, well it’s time to join the new generation of victims.  Fortunately, a few easy steps can help you reduce your risk.

Remove Java from your Mac unless you absolutely need it.

If you can’t eliminate Java completely, at least turn it off in your browser, where most of the worst Java threats are. Lately, Apple is making it easier to avoid Java. OS X Lion and later versions don’t install it by default; and if you install it anyway, they automatically disable it if you’ve left it unused for five weeks.

Keep your software patched with up-to-date security fixes. Hackers are still finding plenty of victims by using attacks that could have been halted years ago. Not to say there aren’t newly discovered vulnerabilities to fix, too: Apple’s September 2013 OS X 10.8.5 update found and fixed remote execution holes in multiple areas of the system, from CoreGraphics and ImageIO to PHP and QuickTime.3

If your version of OS X permits it, limit your Mac to installing apps downloaded from the Mac App Store. Then, you can adust the restriction when you know you’re downloading a legitimate app from a safe location, but the rest of the time, you’ll have a valuable added layer of protection.

Run antivirus software on your Mac.  If you’re a consumer running a Mac without antivirus, consider downloading the free Sophos Antivirus for Mac Home Edition, which halts malware threats using business-class technology – including threats from a new generation of web-based malware. Avast! for Mac is another free tool to protect against viruses and spyware that I regularly use in in PC format.

Note: If you’re running a virtual PC on your Apple Macintosh or Windows in Bootcamp, it can become infected with Windows viruses because it’s emulating a Windows environment. In addition, an Apple Macintosh can serve as a virus carrier, meaning that a virus could be stored on an Apple Computer but not infect it. However, if that infected Apple computer were then to connect to a network or forward an infected e-mail, it could infect a Windows computer.