Windows 98's demise leaves questions on security

Wednesday, 17 December 2003, 2:27 PM EST

Microsoft said on 8 December that it is halting further distribution of Windows 98, with the exception of Windows 98 Second Edition, by the end of this month to comply with a legal settlement with Sun Microsystems over a dispute about the Java programming language.

The company ended no-charge incident support for Windows 98 on 30 June and has long warned that it will discontinue paid incident support on 16 January 2004. After that date, Microsoft has no plans to continue producing security patches for Windows 98 even if a virus or worm outbreak targets that platform, according to a company spokeswoman.

Should such an outbreak occur, customers should upgrade to a supported Windows operating system, she said. For those who do not upgrade, information as well as firewall and antivirus software from third-party companies can help protect vulnerable Windows 98 systems, the spokeswoman said.

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