TA14-310A: Microsoft Ending Support for Windows Server 2003 Operating System

Systems Affected

Microsoft Windows Server 2003 operating system

 

Overview

Microsoft is ending support for the Windows Server 2003 operating system on July 14, 2015.[1] (link is external) After this date, this product will no longer receive:

  • Security patches that help protect PCs from harmful viruses, spyware, and other malicious software
  • Assisted technical support from Microsoft
  • Software and content updates

 

Description

All software products have a lifecycle. End of support refers to the date when Microsoft will no longer provide automatic fixes, updates, or online technical assistance.[2] (link is external) As of July 2014, there were 12 million physical servers worldwide still running Windows Server 2003.[3] (link is external)

 

Impact

Computer systems running unsupported software are exposed to an elevated risk to cybersecurity dangers, such as malicious attacks or electronic data loss.

Users may also encounter problems with software and hardware compatibility since new software applications and hardware devices may not be built for Windows Server 2003.

Organizations that are governed by regulatory obligations may find they are no longer able to satisfy compliance requirements while running Windows Server 2003.

 

Solution

Computers running the Windows Server 2003 operating system will continue to work after support ends. However, using unsupported software may increase the risks of viruses and other security threats. Negative consequences could include loss of confidentiality, integrity, and or availability of data, system resources and business assets.

The Microsoft “Microsoft Support Lifecycle Policy FAQ” page offers additional details.[2] (link is external)

Users have the option to upgrade to a currently supported operating system or other cloud-based services. There are software vendors and service providers in the marketplace who offer assistance in migrating from Windows Server 2003 to a currently supported operating system or SaaS (software as a service) / IaaS (infrastructure as a service) products and services.[4 (link is external),5 (link is external)] US-CERT does not endorse or support any particular product or vendor.

 

References

 

Revisions

  • November 10, 2014: Initial Release

 

https://www.us-cert.gov/ncas/alerts/TA14-310A.

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