|23 Apr 2014||#1|
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Windows XP is a much greater risk than Heartbleed
You've probably noticed that the Heartbleed vulnerability in OpenSSL has gotten a ton of attention. You know a computer security issue is a big deal when even local news and late night TV hosts are talking about it. Despite the hype and hoopla, though, there's another threat out there that makes Heartbleed seem trivial by comparison: Windows XP.
Heartbleed is significant because it could enable an attacker to expose or intercept sensitive information that should be encrypted. It's a big deal when things like passwords and credit card information can be easily compromised. Andrew Storms, senior director of DevOps for CloudPassage, told me, "This is probably one of the more serious bugs I've seen in my 15 years of working in the security industry," and that sentiment has been echoed by a number of security experts.
So, what makes Windows XP a bigger security concern than Heartbleed? Well, the same reason that the expiration of support for Windows XP was not a "Y2K" event, as some had described it.
When April 8, 2014, passed by and Windows XP machines continued working just like the day before, and the world didn't come to a crashing halt, there were probably many businesses and individuals stubbornly continuing to use Windows XP who thought -- or possibly even said out loud -- "See? I told you it wasn't a big deal." However, that smug hubris will eventually come back to bite them and will have security implications for the rest of us who share the internet with them as well.
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