GCHQ warns UK government agencies on end of Windows XP support

Microsoft ends its Windows XP support 61 days from today on April 8th and with just two months to go, the U.K. intelligence agency GCHQ is offering advice to other government organization on how they should handle the situation, especially if they intend to keep using PCs with the OS beyond the support cut off date.

In a page on the GCHQ site that went live this week, the agency says that while upgrading Windows XP and Office 2003, among other programs, is "strongly recommended" before Microsoft ends support, there are ways to reduce the security threat if those upgrades are not ready before April 8th. One is to edit the registry file on Windows XP machines "so that vulnerable Office components and Media Players are not registered as the default applications for the relevant file types."

GCHQ also recommends that access to removable media on Windows XP PCs should be taken out. In addition, the agency says, "It may be possible for those posture checks to enforce that no Windows XP devices can be used to remotely access corporate systems." Installing and updating antivirus programs on Windows XP PCs " will continue to be beneficial". Microsoft will keep offering antivirus signatures for Windows XP until July 2015 and most third party antivirus programs will also continue to support the OS well past its support cut off date.

Source: CGHQ | Image via Microsoft

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