April 8, 2014 marked the end of Microsoft’s support of Windows XP, which includes software and security patches. This means a definite zero day vulnerability forever.
A “zero day vulnerability” is when a security hole in software is discovered and exploited before developers are aware of it, marking the zero day of the vulnerability. Because Microsoft will no longer be supporting XP thus looking for and patching security holes there will always be zero day vulnerabilities. An up-to-date antivirus, ad-blocker or firewall will not protect you from these threats.
The longer you wait after the end of the support period the more open to threats you become. Once security patches are released for newer versions of Windows, hackers and malicious software developers can reverse engineer these updates to find vulnerabilities in XP that will not be patched.
Having an XP machine on your network can allow a security breach on the same network as your POS system. Payment systems and an outdated Operating System make you a prime target to security threats. Along with putting customer information at risk this can also put you out of compliance with the PCI standard.
“Ensure that all system components and software are protected from known vulnerabilities by installing applicable vendor-supplied security patches. Install critical security patches within one month of release.” - PCI DSS Version 3.0. The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) standardizes security retail, merchant and cardholders.
Along with enhanced security, new versions of Windows offer many improvements like better searching, network capabilities and faster file transfers. Your experience and day-to-day use with AutoBiz and other 3rd party programs will remain the same. To help you with the new interface, Microsoft has released Getting started tutorials for Windows 8.1 (http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/how-to).