All software goes through a support cycle, starting at mainstream support, extended support and finally “End of Life”. When software is in mainstream support, provider regularly releases features and provides security updates for any bugs that are present. This support usually occurs when the software is first released and continues for the longest duration.
In extended support, the company will stop adding new features, but will continue to fix security vulnerabilities that are discovered. Most large companies will offer critical support for a period of time, but these programs won’t be prioritised. This software is still suitable to use on your devices.
Software in ‘End of Life’ no longer receives security fixes by the provider. Windows XP, for example, has a huge array of vulnerabilities due to the lack of patching by Microsoft now that the support has ended. Even with anti-virus software and a firewall on your device, it may not always be sufficient protection against unpatched Operating System vulnerabilities.
Older, outdated software is at a higher risk of vulnerabilities, and this increases the longer they are out of support. Creators of malware know the risks older software pose and attack those first. Therefore, it is imperative that unsupported software is removed from your device immediately and replaced with a version that is in mainstream or at least extended support.
If you are unsure if a piece of software you use has reached end-of-life, type in the name of the software into a search engine and check with the supplier. Software suppliers publish these key dates to ensure that their customers are fully aware of when to upgrade. We advise that you upgrade your software before the end-of-life date to ensure that you remain protected, even in the event of errors while you switch over to the new software.