To ensure the safety of payment account and other personal information, we DO NOT recommend using a computer running Windows XP to access PaySimple.
If you use a PC running Windows XP, you will know that Microsoft ended support for that Operating System on April 8, 2014. This means that you no longer receive security updates for the operating system. It also means that you can’t be confident that any Internet activity you engage in on a computer running Windows XP is secure. That is why we strongly suggest that you do not login to PaySimple from a computer running Windows XP.
Without security updates to patch your system you, and all those other XP die-hards out there, are at the mercy of attackers who can exploit holes in Windows XP. For a supported operating system, Microsoft is constantly on the lookout for vulnerabilities and when it finds them (typically by observing an attack on the first day it is launched), it quickly patches and sends out an update. If the attack is serious and wide-spread, it may even send out an immediate update instead of waiting for the standard monthly patch cycle. Now that Windows XP is no longer supported, Microsoft will no longer be looking out for you and no longer supplying patches, so you will be vulnerable to all of these attacks. In fact, experts think that hackers saved up exploits to use now that XP support has ended, because they will be far more effective for far longer.
Your best option for solving your Windows XP problem is to upgrade your systems. In most cases this means buying a new computer running a newer operating system. However, you may be able to convert your current computer’s operating system to Windows 8.1, Windows 7, or even Linux. The Microsoft Windows XP End of Support page provides useful information for updating or replacing your current XP computer. If you do want to purchase a new system, it provides a link to discounted Windows 8.1 systems. (Discounts are good until April 30, 2014.) Dell is also running Windows XP upgrade sales. And if you don’t want to go the Windows 8.1 route, Dell’s specials extend to 64-bit Windows 7 desktops, laptops, and all-in-ones. If you’d like to try Linux, check out this guide.
There is some good news if you feel you must continue to use Windows XP. You can continue to receive anti-virus and anti-malware support. Microsoft has announced continued support for Security Essentials until July 14, 2015 for all existing users (but it no longer enables you to download the program itself for XP). Most other security suite providers, such as McAfee, Norton, AVG, Avast, and Sophos, will continue support for at least another year and in some cases two or more years. A complete list of security suite providers and their Windows XP support plans can be found here.
While security suites can offer some protection, they can’t take the place of a fully supported and patched operating system. So, if you are sticking with Windows XP, you should do everything you can to do so as safely as possibly.
The most secure way to keep using Windows XP is to work without connecting to the Internet. That insulates you from any and all attacks that originate online. If you’re running a current security suite, it should protect you from most other non-Internet based attack vectors, such as viruses or malware hiding in files you save to your computer or software you install.
However, in today’s world it is practically impossible to run your small business without the Internet. (However you might consider upgrading Internet-connected computers, and keeping those XP computers off line.) If you must continue to work online using a Windows XP computer, this PC World post provides very helpful advice on how to stay as secure as possible.
Key steps you can easily take are:
- Make sure you are running a security suite, getting frequent updates to it, and scanning your system regularly.
- Make sure you have Windows Firewall turned on.
- Do not use Internet Explorer— XP compatible versions are no longer supported. Use Chrome or FireFox instead—both continue to offer support for Windows XP versions.
- Do not use Outlook Express for email. Instead, use the full version of Outlook that comes with newer versions of Microsoft Office (note that Office 2003 is no longer supported either). You can also use any web-based email program such as Gmail or Mozilla Thunderbird.
- Make sure that you keep all your other software updated with the manufacturer’s latest patches and service packs.
- Do not access the Internet as an Administrator User. Instead create a Limited User account that does not have permission to install programs or make changes to your system. This offers some protection from attacks originating from the Internet. Watch this short video to see how to create a Limited User.
PaySimple takes security very seriously, and we do everything we can to protect your personal information and your customers’ personal information. However, security is a shared responsibility and you need to do your part as well. To that end, we strongly suggest that you only access your PaySimple account using a current operating system. If you must continue to use Windows XP, we encourage you to take all the precautions necessary to do so as securely as possible.