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What the Big XP Switch-Off Means for Online Casinos

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Online gamblers still using Windows XP have to seriously start considering switching to a new operating system.

The countdown has begun. Good ol’ Windows XP will be retiring in about a month, after 13 years of serving stability-loving computer users around the world. On April 8, Microsoft will be pulling the plug on the operating system, meaning that it won’t be bothering to provide updates for it anymore.

The company is expecting clients to start migrating towards newer operating systems. After all, it has developed several versions of Windows in the past 13 years, including the highly-criticized Vista and the more recent (and much better) Windows 7 and 8.

The ever-popular Windows XP

The “XP” in the name of the product is short for “eXPerience” and PC users around the globe have certainly had a long experience using this operating system. Statistics compiled by the industry research company Net Applications show that Windows XP was the most popular operating system released by Microsoft until 2012, when Windows 7 eventually beat its record.

Windows operating system usage in February 2014, according to Net Marketshare:

• Windows 8.1 – 4.3%
• Windows 8 – 6.38%
• Windows 7 – 47.31%
• Windows Vista – 3.1%
Windows XP29.53%

The product went on sale in October 2001 and simply stuck around for 13 years. But when Microsoft announced it was finally going to stop providing security patches, software updates or bug fixes for the software starting April 8, expecting customers to switch to a more modern operating system, the news had the exact opposite effect.

Instead of buying a newer version of Windows, PC users started to show interest in XP again. According to data compiled by Net Marketshare, Windows XP started the year with a rise in global usage. And this in spite of the fact that Microsoft has been warning companies and users about its decision for months.

In an attempt to convince people to switch operating systems, Microsoft has even went through the trouble of creating a website that checks the software visitors are using and tells them if they’re using a correct version. If they’re not, a pop-up warning appears on the screen, advising people to get a different version of Windows.

Funds under threat

With no more security services, users expose themselves to more threats than ever and this is very dangerous, especially for people who access online casinos. When registering as a user on a gambling site, people are required to give out more than just their personal information. This means that hackers could have easy access to their funds.

Windows XP is used in a number of public institutions and statistics show that most cash machines still run on it. While government institutions deal with a lot of information on a daily basis, cash machines allow people to withdraw their funds. These are both places you’d expect to be using the safest software possible. Not to mention, with no updates and bug fixes, you get more technical issues.

Apart from that, the software is still widely popular in some parts of Asia, so players accessing online casinos in China risk having all of their personal information stolen by internet thieves. Most of these players use pirated versions of the software, which offer even less security.

Besides, casino games are also illegal under Chinese gambling laws, so that’s one more reasons why players living here should not be playing online.

Newer, safer

According to programmers, the newer versions of Windows are much safer that the popular-but-outdated XP. Let’s face it, after 13 years you would expect the operating system to be a little rusty and lose the battle against all the virtual hackers put there.

Windows 7 and 8 use modern technology to hide those little gaps where hackers would normally crawl in. Besides, cybercriminals usually take advantage of other weaknesses, such as a weak web browser. This is why gamblers accessing online casinos are especially vulnerable. Statistics show that 58.19% of web users prefer Internet Explorer as their default browser. Windows XP will not work properly with the latest updated and secure versions of the software.

Even if Firefox and Chrome continued to update their XP versions, the number of PC users opting for these two browsers is much lower (17.68% for Firefox and 16.84% for Chrome). And, of course, there are online gambling sites using downloadable software. Even with these, having no security updates would leave a gambler, his personal info and funds completely exposed.

Whichever way you look at it, the best option for online gamblers is switching to a newer and safer operating system.

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