According to a report by Computerworld, hackers have been storing Windows XP zero-day vulnerabilities that they have discovered, with the intent of unleashing them on XP users the moment Microsoft ceases extended support for the aging operating system on April 8, 2014.
Hackers are reluctant to unleash the viruses now, because exploits exposed now would be fixed in patches released to XP users quickly. However, once support for the operating system stops, users will no longer receive such updates.
Computerworld also projected that by April 8, 2014, an astounding 33% - 34% of the world's computers will still be running Windows XP, which would provide hackers with enough incentive to release the viruses, as the potential for damage would be massive.
There are also some experts that say Microsoft will be forced to provide support for Windows XP users. That's because if all XP users were the target of a denial-of-service attack, the Internet (which the XP machines are connected to) would be affected to a large degree as well.
Another option for Microsoft, said Fossen, would be to take advantage of a post-retirement disaster to do what it's been doing for years, push customers to upgrade.
Tech savvy users would have switched to newer versions of Windows by now, but there are some users or enterprises that insist on sticking with Windows XP due to legacy software or for financial reasons. If your company or someone you know is using Windows XP, now would be a good time to convince them to upgrade to either Windows 7 or Windows 8.