Computers: Millions of PCs in Germany with insecure Windows systems

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Computers: Millions of PCs in Germany with insecure Windows systems

Over 1.8 million Windows computers in Germany are on the Internet with an outdated operating system that is no longer protected against security threats from the Internet. This emerges from a study by the security company Eset, which was published in Berlin on Sunday. A large proportion of the insecure systems, around 1.5 million devices, are still operated with Windows 7.

According to Eset, almost 630,000 devices are still equipped with Windows 8 or 8.1. Microsoft stopped supporting this system family a year ago. Even the software oldie Windows XP, which received its last major update from Microsoft 15 years ago, has not completely disappeared from the scene. Eset still had installations on a good 90,000 computers in Germany.

Urbanski: “Anyone who doesn’t act now is acting with gross negligence”

"It's depressing when you see that despite years of information campaigns, millions of German users are still using outdated Windows operating systems," said Thorsten Urbanski, IT security expert at Eset. This exposes users to immense danger at home or in everyday office life. “Anyone who doesn’t act now is acting with gross negligence,” said Urbanski.

Windows 7 was released in October 2009 as the successor to the unsuccessful Windows Vista and was used by PC manufacturers until 2014. The successor, Windows 8, also had startup difficulties and did not impress many users. That's why many companies in particular remained loyal to Windows 7 even after 2014.

Easy attack for cybercriminals

Urbanski said that these insecure computers are easy for cybercriminals to attack: "An unclosed security gap in computer programs can be enough to hijack the computer, steal all private data or integrate the device into botnets after a successful infection."

It could be expensive for companies that continue to use outdated Windows computers. "If there is damage caused by hacker attacks, it is unclear whether insurance policies will be effective - because Windows computers that have been outdated for years no longer correspond to the state of the art." The expert also admitted that more and more users are relying on a current operating system such as Windows 10 or 11. However, you shouldn't rest on your laurels. The next end of support is already in sight with the expiry date of 2025 for Windows 10.