End of support for Windows XP begins on April 8, 2014. Those who choose to stay on XP after end of support will face an end to hot-fixes, technical assistance, and security updates. Sticking around on Windows XP is risky; reports point out that the lack of security updates will make it a hot target for hackers, viruses, and other malware. When Microsoft releases security updates for Windows 7 and 8, attackers will check and test Windows XP for those same vulnerabilities. If the vulnerabilities are shared, attackers will target these known security holes in XP because it won’t be receiving security patches.
Studies show that Windows XP users will be six times more likely to suffer from a virus or other malware. We at Laplink recommend that XP users upgrade their current operating system or transfer to a new PC. With PCmover, the move is seamless, so there’s no reason to face the risks that Windows XP will soon carry.
All around the nation today people are taking the pledge to recycle in honor of America Recycles Day. Already, over 48,000 people have taken the pledge, with many businesses joining in on the cause. Our national recycling rate currently sits at 34.7% and avoids greenhouse gases that equal removing more than 34 million cars from the road each year. Together, people are pledging to increase that percentage to save energy, protect the environment, and create green jobs for millions of Americans. So, how can you join in?
With the recent launch of Microsoft’s Windows 8 which will trigger a lot of replacement sales of PCs and Laplink’s upcoming release of Laplink SafeErase Version 6, it is a good time to remind ourselves that all data we have deleted from our PCs is in no way safely deleted. Most data can be restored from a hard drive with commercially available products. Even formatting a hard drive is not good enough. My white paper from last year is a good and quick read to understand the risk associated with data deletion.
Well, a little of both it would seem. In Symantec’s 2011 Threat Landscape Report we are told that malicious attacks jumped 81% in 2011 over 2010 (or more precisely that Symantec caught 81% of the attacks). The report claims that malware-variants, slightly modified malware that bypasses past fixes, also increased in 2011 by 41%. The report goes on to detail some pretty scary numbers pointing to a definite rise in malicious online attacks (but hey, SPAM has precipitously dropped, so, really, we came out on top right? … right?).
Photo courtesy of anroidpit.com
Symantec’s report tends to focus on malicious attacks against user-systems. These are definite issues as the numbers show, but it doesn’t really reflect the problems presented in the opening of this post. These issues arise from mistakes made in code, holes left open that could allow someone to access information we need kept private. This is where encryption steps in.
Let’s discuss trash for a moment. A by-product of human existence, our trash never really goes away. Sure, some of it might biodegrade into the soil, but most of it, unfortunately, just hangs out. Your digital refuse isn’t much different – the files and folders you “delete” or toss in the Recycle Bin don’t actually disappear from your computer, just like the old newspaper you throw in the garbage doesn’t disappear from the planet.
The only difference between your physical trash and your digital trash is in what’s being thrown away. Think about it: most people are not going to be interested in tracking down and retrieving an empty jar of peanut butter or burnt-out light bulb, but those old excel documents of financial information that you “deleted” from your computer before throwing it away or selling it might have a bit more appeal.
Fortunately, there is software available to address this problem. Programs like Laplink SafeErase serve to securely delete whatever data you choose from hard drives, ensuring that your digital trash is protected from those who would pick through it. But what is it that these kinds of programs do that you can’t do yourself? Why is a piece of software like SafeErase so critical to wiping files off of your computer? Well, we’re glad you asked.