UK's intelligence service warns against using Windows 7 for email and banking

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The end of Microsoft's support for Windows 7 is now just hours away. It should not come as any sort of surprise, as coverage of the end of life for the operating system has been widespread, but there are still plenty of people and businesses using the decade-old OS.

Some are put off by the hassle of upgrading (although it's easy), while others are discouraged by cost (although you can still upgrade to Windows 10 for free). But the ramifications of sticking with Windows 7 could be serious -- so much so that the UK's National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) has issued a stark warning not to use the operating system for email or banking.

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The NCSC is part of GCHQ, the UK's intelligence service, and it says: "The NCSC would encourage people to upgrade devices currently running Windows 7, allowing them to continue receiving software updates which help protect their devices".

The spokesperson for the agency goes on to warn:

We would urge those using the software after the deadline to replace unsupported devices as soon as possible, to move sensitive data to a supported device and not to use them for tasks like accessing bank and other sensitive accounts.

Accessing sensitive banking services from a device that could have security flaw that will never be patched seems like common sense. But the NCSC says that those still clinging to Windows 7 "should also consider accessing email from a different device".

Now is the time to upgrade to Windows 10 -- and even after all this time, you can still upgrade for free.

Image credit: Alexandr III / Shutterstock

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