I thought Windows 10 was supposed to be much safer than Windows 7, but I just saw an urgent update notice from Microsoft about a very serious Windows 10 only problem. Is it really safer?
This question was answered on August 15, 2019. Much of the information contained herein may have changed since posting.
Vulnerabilities in software are a fact of life and no company is immune from the constant probing by those with malicious intent or security researchers that want to find problems before the bad guys.
The most recent critical vulnerability (http://bit.ly/2KLZTpg) is getting a lot of attention because unlike a typical exploit, this one can ‘worm’ its way from machine to machine without any action required by the user.
This ability to spread on its own is why it’s deemed such a critical issue that every Windows 10 user should be aware of.
The Good News
Most users of Windows 10 are setup to automatically update the OS whenever Microsoft releases an update. This means, if you’re running Windows 10, you probably had the critical update installed automatically already.
If you want to be sure that you have all the latest updates, go to the Settings menu from the Start menu, then to the Update & Security section to land on the Windows Update menu.
It will show if you are up to date, the last time it checked for an update as well as a button that will allow you to manually check for updates.
Windows 7 vs Windows 10
There are a multitude of reasons that Windows 10 is safer than Windows 7, starting with the fact that turning off automatic updates in Windows 10 is much more difficult than it was in Windows 7.
Windows 7 is running on code developed 10 years ago when the Internet was a much different place and not nearly as dangerous.
Windows 10 is completely different than Windows 7 because it was built from scratch with the knowledge of today’s threats instead of a revision of older code.
Statistically speaking, everyone that has measured the differences in infection levels and known exploits has determined that Windows 10 is generally at least twice as safe as Windows 7.
Evolving Threat Tactics
The Internet underworld expanded its efforts long ago from operating systems to more ubiquitous targets such as your web browser to exploit users.
By targeting browser technology, they can exploit users no matter which operating system they are using, which is why we have seen an increase in MacOS based computers in our stores with a myriad of malware infections.
The bad guys know that Mac users are less concerned about security, thanks to all those old Apple ads that implied that Mac users don’t have to worry it – there’s a reason that you haven’t seen those ads for many years, because it’s not true.
The End is Nigh for Windows 7
The security threat to those using Windows 7 is about to get much worse, as the end of support of any kind is right around the corner.
January 14, 2020 marks the end of extended support for Windows 7, so if you’re still running on Windows 7, you should be formulating your transition plan sooner, rather than later.
About the author
Ken Colburn of Data Doctors on August 15, 2019