GCHQ has warned people not to do internet banking or use emails from computers with Windows 7 from now on, as Microsoft have ended support it.
The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), said that devices still using the operating system will become increasingly vulnerable to cyber attacks as the tech giant stops patching its product. Microsoft announced last year that it would be ceasing technical support for Windows 7 and urged users to upgrade to its Windows 10 system, which costs around £120. It is estimated that there are still more than 440 million people using Windows 7 globally.
A spokesperson for the NCSC said: “The NCSC would encourage people to upgrade devices currently running Windows 7, allowing them to continue receiving software updates which help protect their devices. We would urge those using the software after the deadline to replace unsupported devices as soon as possible, to move sensitive data to a supported device and not to use them for tasks like accessing bank and other sensitive accounts.
"They should also consider accessing email from a different device.”
The national security agency warned that after Microsoft ended support for Windows XP in 2014 that hackers soon started exploiting weaknesses in the system.
The NCSC spokesman added: “As a result, it’s crucial to move away from them as quickly as possible.” The Windows 7 operating system has been successfully breached in the past. In 2017, most of the NHS computers infected by the WannaCry ransomware attack, which caused serious damage to the internal workings of the NHS, they were using the operating system.
Microsoft have warned users they would be at greater risk of hacking malware if they continued to use Windows 7. A Microsoft spokesman said: If you continue to use an unsupported version of Windows, your PC will still work, but it will become more vulnerable to security risks and viruses. "Your PC will continue to start and run, but you will no longer receive software updates, including security updates, from Microsoft."
Microsoft said it will be providing security support for three more years to businesses using Windows 7 and for customers who are willing to pay for an upgraded package of updates.