Experts: Hackers Will Have No Problems Stealing Personal Info From Home Computers

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The clock is ticking on millions of holdouts still using Microsoft XP.

The company will stop supporting the nearly 13-year-old operating system on Tuesday.

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You can still use it, but you could face big security risks from hackers, CBS 2’s Jericka Duncan reported Monday.

Windows XP was released in 2001.Since then, Microsoft has offered several new operating systems, but millions of Americans never upgraded.

“Even though Windows XP is really old, still 25 to 30 percent of computers are still running it — a lot of government agencies, a lot of companies,” said Dan Ackerman, senior editor at CNet.

And that could soon be a problem.

Starting Tuesday, Microsoft will no longer support or update the XP system.

“There really is an XP perfect storm,’ said Scott Kinka, Chief Technology Officer of Evolve IP.

Imagine a wall of defense around your computer — when hackers found a weakness in XP, Microsoft used to send out an update to seal those security holes. But those defense measures are going away, giving hackers a way in to grab personal information.

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“Their passwords, their Social Security numbers, their credit card information,” Kinka said.

And the problem doesn’t just exist for computers — most ATMs also use the XP operating system. However, experts said they do not believe consumer’s money is in danger.

Bank of America and Chase say their ATMs will continue to receive Microsoft support after the April 8 cut off. And Wells Fargo told CBS News it is also working with Microsoft to upgrade its ATMs.

As for home computers, CNet’s Ackerman had some advice.

“If you are still running Windows XP, I would seriously start thinking about getting a new computer,” Ackerman said, adding people who continue to use XP are putting themselves at risk.

If you want to keep your computer, Microsoft recommends upgrading to the latest version of Windows 8. It costs about $120.

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