10 April 2014

 

The Issue:

 

Starting April 8, 2014, Microsoft will no longer provide security updates or technical support for Windows XP, Office 2003 and Internet Explorer 8. Without additional security updates, organizations should consider these PCs may be at risk for new vulnerabilities and malware.

 

Microsoft is advising users with these versions of software to update to newer versions of software to get the most up to date security protections. However, updating all PCs to newer versions of software can be a difficult task for organizations and require interim solutions to protect organizations from emerging threats.

 

What Can Be Done:

While Check Point strongly urges customers to follow Microsoft’s recommendation, it is sometimes necessary to have an interim solution to protect an organization until upgrades can be completed.

Two interim solutions that are recommended by Check Point are:

1. Mapping Windows XP and Internet Explorer 8 machines in the organization

Map all relevant machines in your environment, based on network activity of machines at your organization. This can be done by activating a dedicated IPS signature on any Check Point Security Gateway with the IPS software blade

 2. Enforce Network Based Protections to protect from malware targeting Windows XP

Check Point’s Threat Prevention Software Blades allow organizations to protect proactively from malware targeted Windows XP:

a. Check Point’s IPS signatures will continue to be updated as new vulnerabilities are discovered covering Windows XP, Office 2003 and Internet Explorer 8.
b. Check Point’s Threat Emulation prevents new unknown malware form entering the network via sandboxing technology that allows opening documents and executables within a virtual environment, including a Windows XP OS.

Conclusion

Upgrading PCs to newer versions of Windows, using alternatives browsers and creating network based protections are all options. While utilizing network based protections should not be a permanent solution, organizations must take steps to protect themselves from emerging threats.

More information

For additional information about mapping windows XP devices at the organization, and using IPS signatures to protect Windows XP – visit Check Point’s support center – SK99057.


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