To all our members and users:

On Tuesday April 8th 2014 Microsoft will release the last security updates for the Windows XP Operating System.

What this means is that Windows XP will be officially unsupported. It won't stop functioning but it will become increasingly unsafe to use.

Each month, Microsoft releases security updates for Windows. After April, other later Windows versions will receive updates but the problems fixed will still be broken in Windows XP. It will become a sitting duck for attacks of all kinds with more added every month.

Users should upgrade to a supported version of Windows if possible. Windows Vista SP2 will be supported until 2017, Windows 7 SP1 until 2020.

If upgrading Windows is not an option, the best alternative would be to move to a Free Open Source Operating System such as Ubuntu Linux.

http://www.ubuntu.com/desktop

Continued use of Windows XP after April 2014 is not recommended, however there are measures Windows XP users can take to reduce their risk. Users should still plan to replace Windows XP as soon as possible.

Under no circumstances whatsoever should Windows XP users use the Internet Explorer web browser after April 2014. Once the April 8 Windows Updates have been downloaded, never open Internet Explorer again.

Free alternative web browsers like Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome and Opera are security updated and available to use.

Mozilla Firefox: http://getfirefox.com

Google Chrome: https://www.google.com/intl/en/chrome/browser/

Opera: http://www.opera.com/


Using Outlook Express as your email program? Free Mozilla Thunderbird is security updated.

http://www.mozilla.org/en-US/thunderbird/


Microsoft Office on Windows XP will be unsafe to use after April. The Free Open Source Libre Office is security updated.

http://www.libreoffice.org/


Windows XP users should run as a Non-Administrator or Limited account. This limits the damage a successful attack can do. There are instructions on how to set up a Limited User Account on this (non-Chebucto) website:

http://www.howtohaven.com/system/standard-user-account.shtml


Microsoft Security Essentials is a free anti-virus program. It will be supported on Windows XP for one year but ONLY if it is installed on Windows XP before April 8, 2014.

http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=5201


Microsoft EMET, or Enhanced Mitigation Experience Toolkit, is a free tool from Microsoft that prevents many forms of attack from working.

http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/security/jj653751


Chebucto Community Net's policy is that since Windows XP cannot be made safe after April 8, 2014, should a Windows XP machine on our network become compromised by malware and become a hazard to others, we would have no choice but to permanently remove network access to that computer and/or user account as circumstances warrant.

In other words, once an infected Windows XP computer starts trying to infect other computers, that computer cannot be 'cleaned off' and put back on our network again.

Users wanting to upgrade to Ubuntu Linux and needing a disk please bring a blank DVD (not CD) to our office any weekday afternoon and we'll make one for you for free. You'll need to tell us whether you want 32-bit or 64-bit. If your computer has under 2 GB of RAM, you want 32-bit. Your computer needs to have a DVD drive it can be booted up from.

Chebucto Plus dialup users wanting to upgrade to Linux may need to purchase a new modem compatible with Linux. We recommend the US Robotics 56K USB hardware modem model 5637 which is compatible with Linux, Windows and Macintosh.

Continuing to use Windows XP after April is a bad idea. Programs will lose Windows XP support after a while so no new software will be written for it and existing programs would no longer get security updates or bug-fix patches. Upgrade Windows, or move to Linux.

If you have no choice but to temporarily continue to run Windows XP, please follow our advice in this letter to protect yourself and others as best you can until you can upgrade Windows or move to Linux.
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