Windows XP users are at risk of new computer viruses, starting n

Windows XP users are at risk of new computer viruses, starting next week

Posted: Updated:
Sri Sridharan, managing director for the Center for Cybersecurity at USF, Sri Sridharan, managing director for the Center for Cybersecurity at USF,
Tom Perricone of Shield Watch, helps businesses and individuals fight computer viruses. Tom Perricone of Shield Watch, helps businesses and individuals fight computer viruses.
TAMPA, FL (WFLA) -

If you have an older computer with the Windows XP operating system, you may want to consider an upgrade.

Microsoft is ending its support for the aging system on April 8. That means XP users will no longer receive security patches that protect against loopholes in the system that allow for viruses and let in hackers.

Those hackers, says Sri Sridharan, managing director for the Center for Cybersecurity at USF, have been waiting for this.

"They're waiting forAprill 8, and they're going to unleash," he said.

Hackers want inside these computers, and it will be difficult to keep them out.

"The bad guys will obviously try to steal data. that could be intellectual property of a company, it could be credit card information, it could be personal information, it could be consumer data. it could be a lot of different things," Sridharan said.

That's a big deal because an estimated 44 percent of businesses and 30 percent of PC computers still use windows XP. Without the support from microsoft, even XP users who have anti-virus protection will be vulnerable to viruses and hackers.

Tom Perricone of Shield Watch, helps businesses and individuals fight computer viruses. He expects next week to be busy.

"Companies like ours and people in the industry are looking at April 9 kind of like Y2K, only we know something is going to happen," Perricone said.

Experts say most Windows XP users need to replace their computers. If the computer is not too old, you can upgrade the operating system to Windows 7 or Windows 8.

Copyright 2014 WFLA. All rights reserved

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