Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Perimeter

4/8/2013
03:12 PM
Larry Seltzer
Larry Seltzer
Commentary
Connect Directly
Twitter
Facebook
Google+
LinkedIn
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

Office 2003, Windows XP Support Ends In One Year

If you're still using Windows XP, then you won't let a little thing like unpatched public vulnerabilities stop you. But many Office 2003 users will be surprised to find themselves cut loose by Microsoft

It should come as news to absolutely nobody: One year from yesterday — i.e. April 8, 2014 — the Extended Support period for Windows XP will end. What this means in concrete terms is that Microsoft will no longer provide critical updates — which basically means security updates — for Windows XP.

Less attention has been given to the fact that the same fate awaits Office 2003 on the same day: It, too, will get no critical updates after that date. This will be a bigger deal in the short term: Office 2003 was the last version before Microsoft switched to the "ribbon" interface that many users hated. I personally know quite a few users who never upgraded because they never saw any reason to.

Neither set of users should feel badly treated. As is standard for the company, Microsoft gave Office 2003 more than 10 years of support. Windows XP received more than 12 years of support, a two-year bonus the company gave to enterprise customers as a consolation when it became clear that many would take a pass on Windows Vista. Nobody else in the industry supports its customers for as long as Microsoft.

To repeat, this is only about security updates. It has been many years since Microsoft has provided bug fixes or any kind of feature improvements for these products. If you want to talk to someone at Microsoft for support for these products, then you have to pay for it. But nobody's telling you that you can't continue to use the software. You're just completely on your own, no matter what trouble you get into.

Like I said, nobody should be surprised that XP support is ending. Here's a story I wrote about it four years ago. There are still a lot of users out there running it. According to NetMarketShare, almost 39 percent of Web users are on XP. It is an imperfect measure, but it's one of the best we have.

OS Share
Windows 7 44.73%
Windows XP 38.73%
Windows Vista 4.99%
Windows 8 3.17%
Mac OS X 10.8 2.65%
Mac OS X 10.6 1.87%
Mac OS X 10.7 1.81%
Other 2.05

Last time I saw a breakdown, the lion's share of XP users were in China, perhaps because it was a fairly easy version to pirate. It's commonly assumed that pirated versions don't get updates, but that only applies to noncritical updates. Every update to Windows XP for the past several years has been a critical update, and even pirated copies can get them. But I doubt these users will care if the alternative is to pay for a legit copy.

By the same token, I'm sure that many of the remaining Office 2003 users are in China, but the difference won't be the same. Windows XP has been thoroughly demonized by the security community to the point where even the companies running it know they shouldn't be. The same isn't as true of Office 2003, but perhaps it should be.

So what's Microsoft's advice for you? As it says on the Support Lifecycle page for Windows XP, "Buy Windows 8 now!"

Larry Seltzer is the editorial director for BYTE, Dark Reading, and Network Computing.

Have a comment on this story? Please click "Discuss" below. If you'd like to contact Dark Reading's editors directly, send us a message.

Follow Larry Seltzer and BYTE on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google+: - @lseltzer @BYTE - Larry Seltzer BYTE - Larry Seltzer on LinkedIn BYTE - Larry Seltzer on Google+ View Full Bio

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Why Cyber-Risk Is a C-Suite Issue
Marc Wilczek, Digital Strategist & CIO Advisor,  11/12/2019
Black Hat Q&A: Hacking a '90s Sports Car
Black Hat Staff, ,  11/7/2019
The Cold Truth about Cyber Insurance
Chris Kennedy, CISO & VP Customer Success, AttackIQ,  11/7/2019
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon Contest
Current Issue
7 Threats & Disruptive Forces Changing the Face of Cybersecurity
This Dark Reading Tech Digest gives an in-depth look at the biggest emerging threats and disruptive forces that are changing the face of cybersecurity today.
Flash Poll
Rethinking Enterprise Data Defense
Rethinking Enterprise Data Defense
Frustrated with recurring intrusions and breaches, cybersecurity professionals are questioning some of the industrys conventional wisdom. Heres a look at what theyre thinking about.
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2019-18954
PUBLISHED: 2019-11-14
Pomelo v2.2.5 allows external control of critical state data. A malicious user input can corrupt arbitrary methods and attributes in template/game-server/app/servers/connector/handler/entryHandler.js because certain internal attributes can be overwritten via a conflicting name. Hence, a malicious at...
CVE-2019-3640
PUBLISHED: 2019-11-14
Unprotected Transport of Credentials in ePO extension in McAfee Data Loss Prevention 11.x prior to 11.4.0 allows remote attackers with access to the network to collect login details to the LDAP server via the ePO extension not using a secure connection when testing LDAP connectivity.
CVE-2019-3661
PUBLISHED: 2019-11-14
Improper Neutralization of Special Elements used in an SQL Command ('SQL Injection') in McAfee Advanced Threat Defense (ATD) prior to 4.8 allows remote authenticated attacker to execute database commands via carefully constructed time based payloads.
CVE-2019-3662
PUBLISHED: 2019-11-14
Path Traversal: '/absolute/pathname/here' vulnerability in McAfee Advanced Threat Defense (ATD) prior to 4.8 allows remote authenticated attacker to gain unintended access to files on the system via carefully constructed HTTP requests.
CVE-2019-3663
PUBLISHED: 2019-11-14
Unprotected Storage of Credentials vulnerability in McAfee Advanced Threat Defense (ATD) prior to 4.8 allows local attacker to gain access to the root password via accessing sensitive files on the system.