Upcoming end of support for Microsoft Windows XP SP3 and Microsoft Office 2003

Download DSD Broadcast: Upcoming end of support for Microsoft Windows XP SP3 and Microsoft Office 2003 (PDF), October 2012

Introduction

  1. As you are likely aware, Microsoft will soon end support for Microsoft Windows XP Service Pack 3 (SP3) and Microsoft Office 2003. This Broadcast encourages agencies to upgrade from these versions of Windows and Office, and highlights the security risks and business impact with continuing to run unsupported operating systems and applications.

Details

  1. From 8 April 2014, Microsoft will cease support for Microsoft Windows XP SP3 and Microsoft Office 2003. DSD strongly recommends agencies using Windows XP SP3 and Office 2003 upgrade to newer supported operating systems and software, preferably based on the Australian Government's Common Operating Environment policy.
  2. After 8 April 2014, agencies running Windows XP SP3 and Office 2003 will not be able to receive public support for these products, including security patches or incident support. Vulnerabilities in unsupported operating systems and applications won't be fixed, and cyber adversaries are aware of this and may identify these vulnerabilities as opportunities to target government systems. As a result, the likelihood of a successful cyber incident on an agency's system is increased, which consequently elevates the security risk profile of the agency.
  3. The latest versions of operating systems offer significant improvements in security features, functionality and stability. The latest versions of applications typically incorporate newer security technologies and mitigate known vulnerabilities. Using the latest versions of operating systems and applications, along with patch management, are some of the most effective security practices agencies can perform.
  4. Agencies unable to upgrade by 8 April 2014 may have the option of entering into a custom support contract with Microsoft. The cost of custom support is significantly higher than regular support, and will continually rise. Agencies wishing to undertake custom support will still need to have a migration plan in place to transition from Windows XP SP3 and Office 2003 as part of the contract with Microsoft.
  5. Microsoft will also cease support for Microsoft Exchange Server 2003 and Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2003 on 8 April 2014.

Further information

  1. Full details of the Microsoft product support lifecycle.
  2. Full details on end of support for Windows XP SP3 and Office 2003.
  3. Further information on the importance of patching operating systems and applications can be found in the following DSD Protect publications:
    1. Strategies to Mitigate Targeted Cyber Intrusions
    2. Assessing Security Vulnerabilities and Patches
  4. Information on the Australian Government Common Operating Environment is available from the Australian Government Information Management Office.

Contact

Australian government customers with questions regarding this advice can contact ASD Advice and Assistance.

Australian businesses and other private sector organisations seeking further information should contact CERT Australia.