Microsoft Office 2000 is retiring. Could it become a potential security risk?

You have heard it here and on other blogs associated with “What’s On My PC…”“Keep your software up-to-date!” (to protect yourself from potential security vulnerabilities or weaknesses). But, what do you do when the software maker stops supporting a specific product version? The common sense approach is to upgrade; however, in some cases where economics (cost to upgrade) becomes a factor, the user will stick with the version that has economically worked for them.  A good example of this scenario are the people still using Microsoft Office 2000.

Office2000

I really do not know what the number of actual users (or businesses) are, but if you are a Microsoft Office 2000 user, be warned that the lifecycle for Microsoft Office 2000 comes to an end on July 14, 2009. Microsoft initially retired “Mainstream Support” for Office 2000 in mid-2004; however, extended support (for critical updates, patches, and fixes) continue to be available until July 14, 2009.

To put this in perspective:

Office 2000 has been patched 15 times so far this year alone, 12 of which were labeled “critical,” Microsoft’s most serious threat ranking.

Just last week, Microsoft patched 10 bugs in PowerPoint 2000, the presentation maker in Office 2000.

[ Source: Computerworld ]

If you are connected to the internet (or any network for that matter) and are still using Office 2000, after July 14th, then you are at risk of being targeted for any future potential security vulnerabilities (i.e. hijacking).  In a sense, Microsoft Office 2000 will become a security vulnerability in itself and a potential avenue for bot infections, etc. It is advisable that you upgrade to a newer version of Microsoft Office, prior to July 14, 2009, to protect yourself and other users.

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20 Responses to Microsoft Office 2000 is retiring. Could it become a potential security risk?

  1. techpaul says:

    This is (IMHO) absolutely spot-on advice. Sadly, the hackers will be aware of these facts and the “average user” (aka ‘normal people’) probably will not be. And so, yet again, I tip my geek hat to you for helping to spread the word on your excellent website.

    • whatsonmypc says:

      TechPaul,

      I thank you for your supporting comments… When I seen that support for Office 2000 was expiring, I immediately starting thinking “security”…

      You and Bill have taught me well : )

      Rick

  2. TucsonMatt says:

    Yet another reason for Open Source rather than proprietary software. It doesn’t cost anything to upgrade and the documents are in a standard format that won’t suddenly be disallowed from opening.

    I’m a Microsoft Registered Partner and have all versions of Office and Windows as part of it, and I still use Open Source even though I don’t have to pay additional money for Office.

    • whatsonmypc says:

      TucsonMatt,

      I totally agree with your thinking on this… Just think how much easier (and safer) it would be if everyone went Open Source…

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this with us…

      Rick

  3. pochp says:

    How can I be sure if I’m still using Office 2000?
    Thanks a lot for the tip.

    • whatsonmypc says:

      Pochp,

      This is an excellent question… How can I be sure I’m still using Office 2000? The easiest way I can think of at that moment is, “Start up Microsoft Word”… On the top menu, “click on Help”, then “click on About Microsoft Word”… The version number is reflected.

      Thank you,

      Rick

  4. Ben Zipperer says:

    Excellent advice. I know many businesses consider the functionality of Office 2000 to be “good enough”, and hence do not invest in upgrades. As you point out, the impending lack of security updates should cause many to re-think their use of this older version.

    • whatsonmypc says:

      Ben,

      Thank you for your supporting comments… I just hope there is someone in these businesses (especially the smaller businesses) that is savvy enough to know how to handle this issue and upgrade.

      I just added “Sugarloaf Tech” to my “Launch Pad” (at the right side of the blog). Great blog by the way!

      Thank you,

      Rick

      • Ben Zipperer says:

        Perhaps this summer there will be mainstream media attention given to the passing of office 2000 extended support, just as there has been mention of the various changes in Microsoft’s policies regarding XP.

        Thanks for the kind comments, I have linked back to you as well.

      • whatsonmypc says:

        Ben,

        I also added “Sugarloaf Tech” to my main blogroll on the sidebar of the blog, as well…

        I will definitely be visiting your blog.

        Rick

  5. Bill Mullins says:

    Rick,

    Excellent advice from TucsonMatt – totally agree. Open Office 3.1, the newest release, is an outstanding application, with virtually the same functionality as MS Office – all at an incredible price. FREE!

    Thank you for bringing this critical information to our attention.

    Bill

  6. g says:

    i use office 2000 at work (because i have to) but on my latest build (home pc), i am now a proud user of open office. i can now say i have weaned myself completely of msft (other than the os).

    • whatsonmypc says:

      G,

      At your work are they considering a different strategy with Office 2000? (in light of Microsoft dropping support)… Just curious!

      Rick

  7. pochp says:

    I also use Open Office as my primary app. Even though I’m using MS 2003, I just recently found out that the notepad app isn’t working anymore- I saw that my most important file was in weird encryption and I don’t know if it could be restored to plain text!
    Any suggestion?

    • whatsonmypc says:

      pochp,

      Notepad can only see text (txt) files… For laughs and giggles, try pulling up that important file in either Open Office or in Microsoft Word…

      Rick

  8. pochp says:

    I’ve already done that Rick. :-)
    I just used Notepad for simple files and because it was easier to use.

    • whatsonmypc says:

      Have you tried opening the file(s) on another PC using Notepad? Also, can you determine what file extension you are seeing on these files? (just thinking out loud here : )

  9. pochp says:

    Good suggestions Rick. I’ll try that. Thanks.

  10. […] If you are using Microsoft Office 2000, I strongly discourage future usage of that package – [ READ THIS ARTICLE ] […]

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