Windows 98's Demise Causes Concern

Microsoft's decision to end support for Windows 98 could pose significant security challenges for many users, Microsoft customers and security experts report. On December 8, Microsoft announced its intention to halt further distribution of Windows 98, with the exception of Windows 98 Second Edition, by the end of this month. The move is being made to comply with a legal settlement with Sun Microsystems over a dispute about the Java programming language.

Just days after that announcement, industry experts warned that the operating system is still widely used within organizations. If Microsoft keeps its promise to stop issuing security patches in January, prompting companies worldwide to weigh costly jumps to newer Windows versions, those companies will face serious challenges, experts say.

End of the Road

The Redmond, Washington company ended no-charge incident support for Windows 98 on June 30 and has long warned that it will discontinue paid incident support on January 16. After that date, Microsoft has no plans to continue producing security patches for Windows 98 even if a virus or worm outbreak targets that platform, according to a company spokesperson. Should such an outbreak occur, customers should upgrade to a supported Windows operating system, she says. For those who do not upgrade, information and firewall and antivirus software from third-party companies can help protect vulnerable Windows 98 systems, the spokesperson says.

News source: PCWorld

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