Windows 7 Updates 

Did you know? Microsoft is ending support for Windows 7 in January 2020. Beginning this April, Microsoft will start displaying pop-ups on all Windows 7 computers alerting the users that their support for Windows 7 will be ending.

Don’t be alarmed.  Microsoft also did the same thing with Windows XP before shutting down their support for the Windows XP Operating System.

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{company} is in the process of discussing upgrade options with every one of our clients and local companies. We’d like to schedule time with you to discuss your options. Feel free to connect with us by calling {phone} or sending an email to {email}.

Windows 7

Windows 7 has had a great run, but Microsoft has decided that it’s finally time to retire the platform. Windows 7 isn’t being deprecated by customers as quickly as Windows would like, with more than 38% of all PCs still running the aging OS. It seems that businesses like to hang onto an operating system once it becomes stable, because even Windows XP still owns 3.3% of the market share after support ended in April 2014. Windows 10 is still the top operating system for PCs, but it’s only a few basis points above the much older Windows 7.

As Microsoft enters the final stretch for offering support for Windows 7, there are 5 things you need to know to keep your PCs stable and operating in peak condition.

1. Windows 10 Offers Better Security

Cybersecurity is one of the topics on everyone’s mind in the technology field, and Windows 10 offers additional security measures you won’t find in the older OS. Ransomware, in particular, is being targeted to computers running older operating systems such as Windows 7, because there’s the perception that updates and patches may not be put into place. Windows 10 has a significantly more advanced end-to-end defense stack than you’ll find on Windows 7.

2. Get Ready for Windows as a Service

Another key benefit of migrating to Windows 10 is the speed of releases. While Windows 7 and previous operating systems from Microsoft had an extended release schedule, the team behind Windows 10 will be pushing out updates approximately every 6 months. What’s more, the updates each have a limited lifespan of support, a move to encourage businesses to shift to a more frequent schedule of updates. This requirement can be a burden on an overtaxed technology department, especially when Microsoft is expecting the updates to be completed at least every 18 months.

3. Are Your Business Applications Compatible?

Organizations that put off an upgrade to the newest in Microsoft’s operating system lineup may be doing so due to a concern about lack of compatibility with current business applications. Turns out, this is definitely a consideration, as some organizations are having to roll back their Windows 10 upgrade due to interoperability issues with line-of-business applications. Application compatibility is an important consideration any time operating systems are upgraded, so Microsoft is providing free assistance with app compatibility as part of their upgrade program.

4. You May Need to Refresh Your Hardware

You may find that older PCs are not hardy enough to handle the requirements of a newer operating system. While it will make your upgrade journey more complex, it’s best to ensure that you’ve got the best possible start with computers that will handle the additional computational load that Windows 10 requires. This is one of the steps where it is helpful to get a second opinion from a trusted service provider, as upgrading and then determining that your legacy equipment won’t handle the new business apps and systems could require labor-intensive and expensive rework. The load from Windows 10 is not extremely heavy, but it could burden older systems.

5. Need Extra Time to Upgrade?

Of course, there’s always the option that you can pay your way into a few more years of Microsoft support for Windows 7. While Microsoft isn’t recommending this option, it could be viable for an organization that is deeply rooted in the Windows 7 ecosystem — at least for the short term. The need to upgrade eventually is inevitable, but this extension on the January 2020 deadline may allow businesses to have a more orderly migration than rushing to get in under the wire. If you’re ready to upgrade the majority of your hardware and have a legacy application or two that is incompatible with Windows 10, there’s always the option of running a virtual machine with Windows 7 until you’re able to patch or rebuild your incompatible software.

Whether you’re going to stick it out or ready to make an upgrade, you’ll need to keep in mind the age of your current fleet of PCs as you carefully weigh the costs and benefits of taking this step. What is most important is that your team has the support that you need to make decisions as well as the technical support in the event of any bumps along the road.

There’s a new scam targeting highly-trafficked Instagram accounts, and anyone with several thousand followers on their account — including businesses and clients — are fair game to the fraudsters. The scheme masquerades as a false claim of copyright infringement, according to Kaspersky Labs, who first noticed the new way influential and popular users are being cajoled into giving up their credentials to attackers.

Fake Instagram

How can you tell if your company or a client is in the crosshairs? The first sign of attack comes in the form of an official-looking email, seemingly from the team at Instagram.

“Your account will be permanently deleted for copyright infringement,” the email threatens. Tripwire reports in a recent article that the scam then requires action in the next 24-48 hours that involves “addressing the claim” and “verifying credentials.” This is where the user is required to type in the account’s password, which hands over the keys to the social media account to the attackers. It doesn’t end there, though — Tripwire warns that an “email verification” is required in addition to the credentials verification, where the user is asked to choose their email provider and give up the username and password for that login as well.

Kaspersky warns the false emails from Instagram are extremely similar to actual Instagram addresses. They include “mail@theinstagram.team” or “info@theinstagram.team.” Protecting your business or your clients from giving up the information in the first place is paramount — once the information is handed over, scammers can then demand ransom to return the account, spread malicious content across the page, and of course, change the information required to assert control over the account, like passwords and security questions. Tripwire encourages managers of popular Instagram accounts to enable two-factor authentication to make it significantly more difficult for attackers to gain access to the account. Kaspersky advises staying up-to-date on best practices, like avoiding suspicious links and only logging into Instagram through the official app.