Eurolink Blog

26May

Are Windows 7 devices at home putting your network at risk?

It's old news that Microsoft has withdrawn support for Windows 7, but while many companies have checked and upgraded their office devices, they might easily have overlooked the personal devices in use while people are working from home. Have you checked the operating systems of your employee devices?

Whenever company's like Microsoft withdraw support for a product, the main and most pressing issue is that this means no more security patches and updates. Initially, it isn't a major problem, but as we move further and further from the point where support was withdrawn, the risk this poses to your network grows. Viruses, ransomware, keystroke trackers, and the like all emerge to exploit vulnerable users, and all could potentially compromise your work networks. 

Reputable companies will have already checked their office networks for Windows 7 devices, but it may not have been part of your working from home emergency provision. It might feel like an insignificant problem, but according to Stat Counter, in April 2020, 19.44% of Windows users were still using the Windows 7 operating system (see chart below). There are roughly 1 billion Windows devices on the planet, so that means there is potentially a whopping 190 million Windows 7 devices still in use. There could easily be one in use from your homeworking staff!

To put the risk in context, Windows XP was withdrawn several years ago and the NHS failed to update many of its devices and ultimately had large swathes of its systems compromised by the Wannacry virus. More recent statistics went on to highlight that Wannacry can compromise Windows 7 devices too, as it infected more than 200,000 devices. That's not all; once the virus gets into your network, it has the potential to spread unchecked between your files, your teams, your customers and your suppliers, and one PC could easily be the root cause. 

While many may hope for a return to work, it isn't necessarily possible for all employees to return to work at the same time. We, therefore, recommend that businesses log and validate at-home devices before they are compromised, and even consider adding two-factor authentication to devices like our CDMS product...

 

Source: StatCounter Global Stats - Windows Version Market Share

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