It’s normal to be resistant to change. After all, moving to a new device or operating system can be a frustrating experience. There are new things to learn, old things to unlearn and plenty of bugs and glitches to go around.
But regardless of how you might feel about updating, it’s still one of the best things you can do for your device and security. The reason: It keeps you one step ahead of hackers and cybercriminals that want to harm you or steal your data. Tap or click here to see the steps you need to take before updating your PC.
When it comes to avoiding updates, however, Windows 7 users are in a league of their own. The beloved operating system is still used by millions the world over, but Microsoft no longer supports it in terms of updates or security checks. And now, the FBI is warning stubborn Windows 7 users of the dangers they face if they stick with their systems.
FBI warns Windows 7 users about hacker risks
A new bulletin published by the FBI is sending an urgent warning to Windows 7 users that are lagging two operating systems behind Microsoft’s latest release.
The bulletin was sent to partners in the U.S. private sector that may not have switched operating systems since Microsoft officially dropped support earlier this year.
The FBI claims it has been tracking cybercriminals attempting to target end-of-life operating systems like Windows 7. Because the system is old and well understood, that means hackers have had much more time to peel through its many layers and test out its weaknesses.
If one were to continue using Windows 7 within a business setting, just having the operating system installed can turn your computer setup into a weak link that hackers can exploit. As the Bureau says, “Windows 7 becomes more vulnerable to exploitation due to lack of security updates and new vulnerabilities discovered.”
Time to update?
If you’re on Windows 7 still, we have good news for you: You can update to Windows 10 for free! Yes, really! In spite of the fact that this offer officially ended in 2016, Microsoft has kept the option alive out of an apparent abundance of caution.
The only catch: Not all computers that run Windows 7 are powerful enough to make the update. At this point, if your computer was manufactured in the early to mid-2010s, you might want to consider upgrading to a new one altogether.
It might seem like a hassle to do, but the FBI emphasizes that the challenge of upgrading or buying a new computer pales in comparison to the loss incurred by computer hacks, data theft or malware infestation. If one ran a company with sensitive intellectual property, for example, stolen data could end up costing millions of dollars in losses and legal fees.
So what should be done if you’re still on Windows 7? Well, the first thing to do is back up your data to make sure you lose nothing during the update process. For this, we recommend our sponsor IDrive. IDrive’s secure cloud backup system is perfect for storing your most important pictures, videos and files.
And because they’re all stored on the cloud, you can easily get them back just by logging in when the update is finished.
And if you’re looking to start the update today, don’t worry: We’ve got you covered. Our guide to making the switch will break things down step by step so you can protect your computer with a new operating system that will last at least several more years.