3OYS: Windows XP users will soon face higher hacking risk

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By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver

TEMPE, Ariz -- A big change is coming for a computer operating system used by about 30 percent of the world's population.

Starting April 8, Microsoft will no longer support its XP operating system, which computer expert Ken Colburn, of Data Doctors, said will make users "sitting ducks" on the Internet.

"Microsoft will no longer give you the ability to secure yourself when it comes to newly discovered problems and so you're going to be on your own," he said.

Colburn said people are six times more likely to have their computers hacked if they are using Windows XP because there are so many known exploits.

"There's a lot of misconceptions that if you have anti-virus software, you don't have to worry about whether Windows is being updated or not; nothing could be further from the truth," Colburn said. "The hackers are looking for people that have not taken the time to update."

Some older computers will not support the upgrade. Microsoft offers an upgrade assistant to determine if a computer is compatible with newer operating systems.

In the meantime, Colburn encourages people preparing income taxes on personal computers to avoid using Windows XP.

"So, to be clear, it's not like your machine is going to stop working when this support ends," Colburn said. "It just means you are no longer going to get updates and support from Microsoft of any kind."

For more information, visit the Data Doctors or Microsoft websites.