There is no doubt about it, 2020 will be a year to remember.
COVID : Lockdowns, work from home, toilet paper shortages, return to level 3, hand cleaners, level 2, mask envy, normality (kind of), lockdown again, election(s), housing market and more. Perhaps the only thing we can be sure of is that the surprises are not over yet.
With all this going on, it is easy to have missed a milestone from the start of the year. Windows 7 and Server 2008 went out of support.
That’s important in 2020. Whilst we have all been focused on family and business, cyber crime has exploded. It’s only a few weeks ago that the FBI announced they had seized US$1 billion in bitcoin from a dark web cybercriminal. That gives you a real sense of just how large some of these enterprises are.
Extortion via data theft or encryption has remained very lucrative. The average reported payment is around $50,000, with rumours of a number of million dollar demands. CEO and Bank email fraud is often for far larger amounts. Reportedly the incident at Team NZ was $2.8 million and that’s not a unusual amount. We hear of plenty of Kiwi companies that have lost hundreds of thousands in these scams.
That gets us back to Windows 7 and Server 2008.
When they went out of support, updates stopped for them. That includes those little updates that protect you in ways you never really notice. Throughout the year, Kinetics KARE Core Fundamental and Premium KARE clients have continued to receive patching support for these devices. We have been able to deploy updates to third party products and some of the Microsoft signatures. We are still keeping anti-virus going and running those other background tasks which keep the devices performing as best we can.
Patches have however reached the point were we can no longer say that Windows 7 and Server 2008 are protected.
They no longer correctly report their update status and installs refuse to recognise them as valid Windows versions. We are now removing them from the patching statistics on your monthly reports. We will continue to keep anti-virus working and up to date and supply the best service we can.
But, whenever possible, these devices need to be retired for the safety of your network and your business.
These older Windows version are being highlighted in the KARE monthly reports, and we will continue to recommend their retirements. Your Engineer or Account Manager are more than keen to talk with you about what can be done to reduce your risk.