The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) advised companies not to use Windows 7 because of higher security risks. According to ZDNet's latest report, a private industry notification (PIN) was sent by the FBI on Monday, Aug. 3, stating that partners in the United States private sector will face security dangers if they will keep using Windows 7 since the operating system has reached its official end-of-life (EOL).
FBI issues warning over Windows 7 end-of-life https://t.co/MLR9iqguiP #CyberSecurity #Windows7 #EOL #nomorepatches pic.twitter.com/zNCfHIK4o8 — Bob Carver ✭ (@cybersecboardrm) August 5, 2020
"The FBI has observed cybercriminals targeting computer network infrastructure after an operating system achieves the end of life status," explained FBI.
"Continuing to use Windows 7 within an enterprise may provide cybercriminals access in to computer systems," added the security agency.
FBI also said that Windows 7 is currently more vulnerable to hacking schemes due to a lack of security feature updates, resulting in the new vulnerabilities which were previously discovered.
The agency warned that hackers and other cyber attackers are now continuing targetting Windows 7 since it is a soft target because fewer users can maintain a patched Windows 7 system after its EOL. FBI is now urging companies to upgrade their workstations to Windows operating system's latest versions.
The report confirmed that although Microsoft's official offer ended in July 2016, the company still allows its customers to upgrade their Windows 7 system to Windows 10 without any fees.
Why some customers can't upgrade Windows 7
Although Windows 7 upgraded is free, some users can't get it. FBI said in its PIN that there are some PCs or laptop's underlying hardware that can't support the free upgrade that would allow them to have a much more powerful system like Windows 10.
Not a secret from #MVPPreDay sessions - Windows 7 EOL is 1 year, 3 Months, and 5 Days away from today. #MVPBuzz #MSIgnite #CloserThanYouThink #GetReady pic.twitter.com/3sVWGYwDvk — Richard Hay (@WinObs) September 23, 2018
The security agency suggested that some companies might need to purchase new hardware or software that can support the system upgrade.
"However, these challenges do not outweigh the loss of intellectual property and threats to an organization," said the FBI.
FBI also explained that companies should look at they might lose revenue because of possible hacks, instead of looking at the upgrade costs currently. There are several powerful Windows 7 vulnerabilities that have been identified.
Some of the security issues are BlueKeep, which is used by hackers to breach Windows 7 security devices that have RDP endpoint enabled, and EternalBlue, which crypto-mining operations, ransomware gangs, and financial crime gang, used in the original WannaCry exploit.
FBI said that since some companies were not able to patch the affected systems, the best overall solution is replacing abandoned and older systems with the new Windows systems.
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Written by: Giuliano de Leon.