Major Security Risks for Windows Embedded Users

Mainstream and extended support are coming to an end for Microsoft’s Windows Embedded mobile operating systems, and, arguably, the biggest impact will be on mobile device security.

Once support ends, there will be no further security patches issued by Microsoft. If recent history is any indicator, this could mean some seriously bad news for businesses that don’t upgrade their OS.

In the past nine months, we’ve seen the emergence of three major security vulnerabilities that affect mobile computers, printers, and other IoT devices.

One of these threats was BlueBorne, an attack vector that exploits Bluetooth connections to target and take control of devices.

Another vulnerability is KRACK (Key Reinstallation Attack), which targets a key step in the Wi-Fi authentication protocol to break security encryption. It can allow a nearby hacker within Wi-Fi range of devices and access points to tamper with data packets over WPA- or WPA2-encrypted connections.

Finally, there were Spectre and Meltdown, which could be exploited as speculative execution side-channel attacks by malware. Spectre allows data to be stolen from application memory on devices and affects almost all modern processors. Meltdown enables the reading of protected memory but was limited to Intel processor chips.

Patches and OS security updates have addressed these threats, and some devices were unaffected if they were newer or were running the right operating system.

This is why it’s so crucial to consider security when choosing your strategy for the end of Windows Embedded. But some companies are choosing not to upgrade to a new OS because there is no direct upgrade to Windows 10 IoT for most versions of Windows Embedded.

If you’re running anything other than Windows Embedded Handheld 8 or 8.1, your version isn’t compatible with Windows 10 IoT. You will have to buy new hardware and rewrite all your applications and databases to make the switch.

But choosing not to upgrade your OS is not a viable option because it will leave your devices and your sensitive data at risk. Hackers will be looking for ways to exploit older devices running non-supported operating systems, so it’s vital to do something as soon as possible.

To protect your devices from these and other emerging threats, we strongly recommend that businesses upgrade their OS and switch to Android mobile computing from our hardware partners at Zebra Technologies.

Android makes migration easier and less expensive. This is due to its open platform, vast developer resources, and an app store filled with enterprise apps verified as secure by Google.

Also, with Zebra’s Mobility Extensions (Mx) and LifeGuard for Android™, you get extremely powerful security.

Zebra’s Mx tools extend Android’s built-in security and allow you to completely control every mobile device, application, and connection. It creates a level of security on par with anything Microsoft offers through Windows, and it even helps you make sure your devices are only used for work purposes.

Additionally, Zebra’s LifeGuard for Android means you get 10 years of guaranteed security updates and patches—protection that lasts long after the standard Android support period and continues even if you upgrade to a newer version of Android. Updates are also incredibly easy thanks to Android’s over-the-air update process.

Of course, choosing the right security and OS strategy requires careful consideration and a complete migration plan for your business. But that’s where our experts at Supply Chain Services can play a key role.

 

To learn more about the advantages of switching to Android and get help with choosing the right options for your business, contact Supply Chain Services now for a free consultation. Call 1-866-205-4310 or email us now.

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