Microsoft has reminded consumers that it will be ending its support for Windows XP operating system and Office 2003 on April 8.
This means that there are about 30 days to go before consumers actively using Windows XP PCs and Office 2003 will be left without security patches and customer support.
The company also launched two new free tools to help consumers to migrate from Windows XP and a detection software to help users find out what version of the operating system they are using.
There will also not be customer technical service assistance for Windows XP and Office 2003.
This means that individuals will no longer receive the updates that help protect their PCs from harmful viruses, spyware and other malicious software.
Many consumers may brush off these security threats, thinking that malicious software and hackers will never target them.
In reality, however, the personal information that we have amassed and shared throughout the years are valuable payloads for hackers.
In addition, Microsoft’s latest security intelligence report found Windows XP SP3 to be 5.68 times more vulnerable than Windows 8 RTM and had a staggering 82.4 per cent higher malware infection rate.
The math is simple: the odds of getting compromised and losing valuable personal information on a Windows XP machine is far higher than on modern Windows 8 devices.
Retiring a product is a normal part of the product lifecycle. While most Microsoft software is supported for 10 years, Windows XP has been supported for more than 12 years.
To minimise this risk, consumers must upgrade to newer operating systems that offer enhanced security features like built-in firewall and anti-virus and rootkit malware protection.