Geneseo’s Computing & Information Technology department began the process of taking away or updating machines that run the Windows XP operating system. Chief Information Officer and Director of CIT Sue Chichester said there will not have to be drastic changes in faculty and school equipment. Microsoft will no longer be dedicated to providing service for machines that run Windows XP and will end support on April 8. This lack of updates and technical support for Windows XP will cause operating systems to become more susceptible to viruses and identity theft.
When Microsoft ends its dedication to XP, cyber attackers will have a technical advantage over cyber defenders when exploiting and manipulating codes in Windows XP. Microsoft will no longer release updates and patches to combat online hackers. In essence, after April 8, it will be more dangerous to connect to public Wi-Fi and hot spots on a computer that runs Windows XP.
“If anybody, it would be very few numbers,” Chichester said. “But pretty much everybody’s primary computer is not Windows XP; it’s already a newer version of Windows. And so they are not a problem at all.”
The only machines that may have to be looked into are secondary and tertiary computers. These computers may be on work-study desks or other public spaces.
Other possible computers are some within the science buildings. These computers would be linked with or may have come with science equipment, which tends to last much longer than computers. Fortunately, if these computers and scientific equipment don’t need to be plugged into the network, they can simply be disconnected rather than replaced entirely.
If computers are found to run Windows XP on campus, one of several things could happen. The computer could have its operating system upgraded, as CIT does have the license to upgrade to Windows 7. The computer could also be assessed on whether it is currently used and, if necessary, be replaced.
Some students may also use Windows XP on their personal computers, but Chichester said it shouldn’t be a serious problem.
“Usually most students show up with a new computer when they come to school, so that would be people who came almost three-and-a-half years ago, and you wouldn’t have bought an XP machine then,” she said.
Just as staff computers running Windows XP may be secondary or tertiary computers, Chichester said students would be in the same situation. Likely, only students that have a primary computer and also brought a hand-me-down might have a computer that runs on Windows XP.
If a student has a computer that runs on Windows XP, that computer will not be kicked off from Internet access by CIT immediately, though the threat of malware does increases significantly for Windows XP users after April 8. If a Windows XP computer is connected to the network and is showing signs of malware or cyber tampering, the computer will be disconnected from the Geneseo network.
The number of computers that run Windows XP on campus is likely very small, and Microsoft’s end of support will not affect many Geneseo students or professionals.
If a computer does need to be replaced, CIT has an environmentally friendly way of disposing of old computers through a recycler.