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Chinese government tackling post Windows XP security risks

The Chinese government is making efforts to solve possible security risks for government agencies after Microsoft stopped providing security updates for Windows XP, an official said on Tuesday.

“Security problems could arise because of a lack of technical support after Microsoft stopped providing services, making computers with XP vulnerable to hackers,” Yan Xiaohong, National Copyright Administration deputy director, told a press conference.

Microsoft ended support for the 13-year-old Windows XP, which remains a major operating system for Chinese computer users, after April 8, and advised users to upgrade to Windows 8.1 and get a new PC if necessary.

“Windows 8 is fairly expensive and will increase government procurement costs,” he said, adding that relevant authorities are negotiating with Microsoft over the issue.

Windows 8 is sold for 888 yuan (142 U.S. dollars) in China.

To protect the 13-year-old operating system and help users continue using it, Chinese security providers have released specialized XP-protection products.

“The government is conducting appraisal of related security products and will promote use of such products to safeguard users’ information security,” Yan said.

The Chinese government has invested hundreds of millions of U.S. dollars in buying copyrighted software since 2010, when China launched an anti-piracy drive among government agencies, according to Yan.

By the end of 2013, all government agencies above the county level had been examined, and their practices of buying pirated software had been corrected, he said.

The government has also been moving to extend the campaign to big state-owned enterprises in recent years, according to Yan.


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