Is it safe to use unsupported software?


Opinions are mixed on whether or not it can be safe to use unsupported software.

First, realize that “safe” is not an absolute.  There’s no such thing as perfect security or safety.  One can only be more safe, or less safe.

It is significantly less safe to use unsupported software.  Vulnerabilities will be found and not fixed.  Those vulnerabilities then become the target of malware for which there will be no protection.  That’s not safe.

On the other hand, and perhaps more pragmatically, you can improve your safety by following good internet safety habits religiously, as well as backing up – again, religiously.

Whether that’s enough is up for debate.  For example, as I write this, many people have now run Windows XP for over two years since its ultimate end-of-support date without an issue.  Perhaps hackers aren’t prioritizing the dwindling installed base of Windows XP users, or perhaps these individuals are particularly adept at keeping themselves safe.

Perhaps they’re about to fall victim to something catastrophic for which there is no fix or protection.  We just don’t know.

There’s no question that everything else being equal, they are, indeed, less safe than individuals running more current, supported, alternatives.

But it’s a risk they’re willing (or through other circumstances, forced) to take.