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End of Windows XP support spells trouble for consumers, businesses

Microsoft is ending support for Windows XP on Tuesday, a move that could put consumers and businesses at risk for cyber crime.An estimated 30 percent of computers being used by businesses and consumers around the world are still running the 12-year-old operating system."What once was considered low-hanging fruit by hackers now has a big neon bull's eye on it," says Patrick Thomas, a security consultant at the San Jose, Calif.-based firm Neohapsis.Microsoft has released a handful of Windows operating systems since 2001, but XP's popularity and the durability of the computers it was installed on kept it around longer than expected. Analysts say that if a PC is more than five years old, chances are it's running XP.While users can still run XP after Tuesday, Microsoft says it will no longer provide security updates, issue fixes to non-security related problems or offer online technical content updates. The company is discontinuing XP to focus on maintaining its newer operating systems, the...

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