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Updated Apr 3, 2014 - 8:15 am

Windows XP users putting selves at risk as Microsoft support ends

PHOENIX -- Computers that are still running Windows XP and Office 2003 will be vulnerable to cyberattacks starting Tuesday, said a computer expert.

Microsoft is ending tech support for XP users and that means no more patches will be available to fix vulnerabilities. That leaves XP users sitting ducks for hackers, said Ken Colburn with the Data Doctors.

"The thieves will know how to pick the lock after April 8 and the fix to keep them out won't be created anymore," Colburn said. "It's a bad idea to keep using XP. It is not something to be taken lightly. We hear about hackers and cyber threats and it's not a good idea to put yourself in that high volume target."

Colburn said the Internet is a more dangerous place than it was in 2001, especially for XP users.

"You're coming to a gunfight with a knife. And Microsoft says even in its current state, XP is six times more hackable than the current version of Windows," he said.

Colburn said about 30 percent of the world's computers are running Windows XP. This includes hundreds of thousands of ATMs and medical devices.

"This is going to be hugely expensive to banks and the medical profession to upgrade systems unless they're able to strike a deal with Microsoft to provide support which some large organizations have done."

Colburn said he doesn't recommend using non-bank ATMs such as those found at mom-and-pop convenience stores.

About the Author

Position: Senior News Reporter. Started with KTAR July 4, 1999.

Favorite spots in Arizona: Pinetop-Lakeside, Alpine, Greer.

Have covered some of the biggest stories in Arizona including nine of the top 10 largest wildfires in state history. The Wallow Fire in 2011 became the largest fire in state history. Rodeo-Chediski Fire in June 2002, which is the second largest fire in Arizona. Covered the Yarnell Hill Tragedy in June 2013 that left 19 Granite Mountain Hotshots dead.

Favorite movies: True Grit, both 1969 John Wayne classic and the remake with Jeff Bridges and Lonesome Dove.

Sports Teams: Washington State University Cougars, Texas Longhorns, The University of Montana Grizzlies.


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