New data has revealed an estimated quarter of businesses in the South West are still using an out of date computer operating system – which is now a major target for hackers.

Windows 7 reached the end of its life in January this year, and was discontinued by Microsoft.  But recent data from research company Net Applications reveals that Windows 7 is still being used on 23.4% of all PCs.

“Any South West business that’s using Windows 7 on even a single machine is taking an extraordinary risk,” said local data security expert Jamie Seviour, Founder of geekingITsimple.

“It’s now very clear that hackers are actively targeting people still using Windows 7.

“Over in the States, the FBI has published a warning notice highlighting the dangers. They say hackers are using previously undiscovered security flaws, safe in the knowledge they won’t be stopped.”

Since January, Windows 7 has been officially dead.  That means there are no security patches, software updates or technical assistance from Microsoft.

Any South West business still using Windows 7 is advised to upgrade to Windows 10 immediately.  Jamie added: “With all the difficulty doing business in the last few months, local businesses don’t need a data security crisis on top.

“This is one of those small things that needs to be addressed, before it causes a big problem.  Even running antivirus on Windows 7 machines will not stop attacks from happening and succeeding to infiltrate your older systems.  This could put your company, your data and potentially your customers at great risk from hacking, but also from fines from the Information Commissioner’s Office.”

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