According to a study by cybersecurity company Kaspersky, nearly a quarter of users still use a Windows operating system (OS) without standard support.

Kaspersky conducted a study based on anonymized operating system metadata provided by consenting users of Kaspersky Security Network.

According to the survey, 22% of PC users are still using the Windows 7 operating system at the end of their life. Official support for Microsoft Windows 7 ended in January 2020.

When an operating system reaches the end of its lifecycle, the vendor stops providing updates for the operating system, including critical security fixes.

“When operating systems reach the end of their life, vulnerabilities will remain without update patches to resolve the issues, providing potential avenues for attackers to gain access to a system. Therefore, updating your operating system is essential to protect your system or corporate network from this preventable problem, ”Kaspersky said.

Among those who still use Windows 7, consumers, small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) and very small businesses (VSBs) take up almost the same share – 22% each, according to the report.

“It should be noted that almost a quarter of VSBs are still using the outdated operating system and, especially since they do not have dedicated IT staff solely responsible for cybersecurity, it is more important to ensure that their operating system is up to date. For now, businesses can still get Extended Paid Support for Windows 7, but that means additional expense – and that offer won’t be available forever, ”he said.

Apart from that, Kaspersky’s results also showed that less than 1% of people and businesses are still using older operating systems, such as Windows XP and Vista, whose support ended in 2014 and 2017, respectively.

Overall, 24% of users still use a Windows operating system without standard support. This includes Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows XP, Windows Vista.

While 72% of users use Windows 10, the latest version of the Windows operating system, which also appears to be the safest choice.

“Updating your operating system can seem like a nuisance to many. But operating system updates aren’t just there to fix errors or to activate the latest interface. The procedure introduces fixes for bugs that can open a gaping door for cybercriminals. Even if you think you are vigilant and protected online, updating your operating system is an essential part of security that should not be overlooked, regardless of the presence of a third-party security solution, ”a said Oleg Gorobets, Senior Product Marketing Manager at Kaspersky.

“If the operating system is outdated, it can no longer receive these critical updates. If your house is old and in ruins, you don’t need to install a new door. It makes more sense to find a new home, as soon as possible. The same attitude is needed when it comes to ensuring the security of the operating system that you trust every day with your valuable data, ”added Gorobets.