Video | Agriculture | Confidence | Economy | Energy | Employment | Finance | Media | Property | RBNZ | Science | SOEs | Tax | Technology | Telecoms | Tourism | Transport | Search


2020-02 – Windows 7 now a security risk

David Hallet

Hundreds of millions of Windows 7 computers became vulnerable to cyber-attacks after Microsoft ended support for its popular operating system on January 14, writes Company-X co-founder and director David Hallett.

The end of support means Microsoft will no longer provide security updates for the 11-year-old operating system.

Technology writer Ed Bott estimated about 19 per cent of more than a billion computers running Windows were still using Windows 7 after support ended. One of the UK’s leading enterprise IT websites IT Pro suggested it was almost double Bott’s estimate at 36 per cent.

“If you continue to use Windows 7 after support has ended on January 14, 2020, your PC will still work, but it may become more vulnerable to security risks,” Microsoft said in a post.

A high percentage of the Windows 7 machines still in use will be in small and medium sized businesses, many without on-site technology staff in the loop about the end of Windows 7 support.

Windows 7 machines can either be upgraded to Windows 10, providing they meet the minimum requirements, or be replaced with new models with Windows 10 pre-installed.

The minimum requirements for Windows 10 are a 1 gigahertz or faster processor, 1 gigabyte (GB) of RAM for a 32 bit processor or 2 GB of RAM for a 64 bit processor, 16 GB of hard drive space for 32 GB processors and 32 GB of hard drive space for 64 bit processors, and DirectX9 graphics card or later with Windows Display Driver Mode 1.0 driver with a minimum 800x600 display.

Business users also have the option of opting in to Microsoft’s Extended Security Updates for up to three years. Prices start at US$25 per machine per year and double each year. The idea behind this offer is to give large corporations with hundreds or thousands of machines time to finalise their upgrade plans. But it will only delay the inevitable. Microsoft would prefer businesses to upgrade.

Some businesses, with a history of light usage, may opt for Apple iPads or Android tablets. Some will switch to Apple Macs, but the majority are likely to remain on PC, especially if they rely on legacy software for their business.

Those who remain on Windows 7 are putting their passwords and business critical data at risk.

Computer Emergency Response Team operations manager Declan Ingram said it was important computer software was up to date and fit for the modern environment.

“Updating systems can be a fine balance for organisations. There are cost and security aspects that need to be balanced by the business,” he said.

“Users reluctant to upgrade to Windows 10 are playing into the hands of cyber criminals who unleashed nearly 68 million strains of Windows malware (malicious software) in 2018.”

Read Cert NZ’s top 11 cyber security tips for your business at


© Scoop Media

Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines


NIWA: Scientists Say Methane Emitted By Humans ‘vastly Underestimated’

NIWA researchers have helped unlock information trapped in ancient air samples from Greenland and Antarctica that shows the amount of methane humans are emitting into the atmosphere from fossil fuels has been vastly underestimated... More>>


SMC Expert Reaction: Record Dry Spells And Effects On Forests

With no rain forecast before Sunday, Auckland is about to break a record for the city's longest dry spell. Niwa says Auckland is likely to hit 40 consecutive days without rain this weekend . The upper North Island is seeing severe meterological ... More>>


Reserve Bank: Official Cash Rate Remains At 1.0 Percent

The Monetary Policy Committee has decided to keep the Official Cash Rate (OCR) at 1.0 percent. Employment is at or slightly above its maximum sustainable level while consumer price inflation is close to the 2 percent mid-point of our target range. ... More>>


Science Media Centre: Novel Coronavirus Detected In China – Expert Reaction

The virus was detected after more than 40 people were hospitalised with pneumonia in Wuhan City, China and the outbreak traced to a large animal and seafood market. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that person-to-person transmission ... More>>


Science Media Centre: Flooding could release toxic gas – Expert Reaction

A chemical substance known as ouvea premix stored at an old paper mill in Mataura could release toxic ammonia gas if it comes in contact with water.More>>