The Risks in Using Unsupported Operating Systems
There are risks in using Windows 2000 and XP SP2 (x86) because you will no longer receive product support, bug fixes, and patch releases. Any known and unknown vulnerabilities affecting the unsupported operating systems create risk of losing data from attackers of vulnerable OS.
Other risks from using Windows XP SP2 (x86) and Windows 2000 occur whenever malware creators release malicious codes targeting unsupported and unpatched operating systems. Over time, the software developers and security software vendors offering protection for unsupported OS will also stop providing detection signatures and product support. With that in mind, any malware targeting old OS puts you at risk of losing your data. The worst scenario is when your clients' data are stolen by malware attackers.
In Secunia Half Year Report 2010*, Apple OS is the Top #1 in the list of vendors with most vulnerabilities. Oracle comes in second place while Microsoft holds the third position. Other vendors in the list are HP, Adobe Systems, IBM, VMWare, Cisco, Google, and Mozilla. The report also mentions, "On average, 10 vendors are responsible for 38% of the vulnerabilities per year." This is a big concern even if we have supported platforms or applications installed in the computer and we depend on product support, security fixes, and non-security hotfixes to help protect the computer and data. The use of operating systems that are no longer supported will bring more problems than supported OS are facing.
*PDF Format of Secunia Half Year Report 2010: http://secunia.com/gfx/pdf/Secunia_Half_Year_Report_2010.pdf
Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons/Microsoft Corporation