The old Windows 7 operating system is on the lookout for the last security updates in early 2020. Theoretically, after that, all known and public exploits will not be able to secure further microsoft fixes. Microsoft’s official advice is that users should purchase a new PC that is pre-installed with a supported operating system version. The UK government’s Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) has joined the call for an estimated 400 million Windows 7 users to be relocated to Windows 10 as soon as possible without other security measures.
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Specifically, the National Cyber Security Center (NCSC) of GCHQ advises the public not to do business such as online banking through Windows 7 PCs, or even to read e-mail on Windows 7 computers.
It also recommends that users migrate sensitive data to other supported devices, but the main way is to upgrade the system or purchase a new PC:
We urge users who use the software after the due date to replace unsupported devices as soon as possible, move sensitive data to supported devices, and not use them for tasks to access online banking and other sensitive accounts.
In theory, older system users, such as Windows 7, would have to spend about 120 pounds to purchase a new license after the free upgrade policy in the early days of Windows 10. But in fact, Microsoft is quietly opening the door to free upgrades.
The NCSC wants the public to raise security awareness to avoid large-scale attacks, such as the infamous WannaCry series of ransomware that keeps the NHS on fire.
For businesses that have signed extended support contracts, they will continue to receive extended support for up to 3 years. But for the average consumer, it’s best to follow nCSC’s advice.