WatchGuard Blog

Virtual Patching: the solution to Windows 10 EOL 

Windows 10, which is still the most widely deployed operating system on desktops, has announced end of support for October 14, 2025. The current version, 22H2, will be the last version of Windows 10, which means that Microsoft will stop providing support and security updates for that particular version and any vulnerabilities discovered after the EOL (End of Life) date will not be fixed by Microsoft, leaving your operating system, and that of your customers, exposed to security risks. 

Previous versions of the Windows operating system, such as Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7 and even Windows 8 have already reached EOL, so there are no security updates for vulnerabilities in these systems, as will happen to Windows 10 on the announced end-of-support date. 

In this context, being able to rely on a solution that includes Virtual Patching features is key. Virtual Patching is a security technique that makes it possible to protect systems and applications without the need to apply an official software patch. In other words, it consists of implementing security rules in additional security layers, such as an anti-exploit or an intrusion prevention system (IPS), to prevent the exploit from being executed without the need to patch the vulnerability in the affected application. 

How Virtual Patching can help you with Windows 10 

  • Protection against unpatched vulnerabilities: by implementing Virtual Patching measures, known vulnerabilities can be blocked and mitigated, even if you do not receive official security updates. This reduces the risk of vulnerability exploitation and potential attacks targeting your system or that of your customers. 

  • Additional time to migrate: During the Windows EOL period, your customers may still be in the process of migrating to a newer version of the operating system. Virtual Patching provides additional time to complete migration without exposing the systems to known security threats. 

  • Legacy systems protection: Your business or your customers' business, may have critical systems or custom applications that only run on a specific version of Windows that is reaching EOL. With Virtual Patching, you can protect these legacy systems while planning a long-term strategy, such as migrating or rewriting applications. 

  • Flexibility in managing updates: In some cases, security updates can cause compatibility issues with certain systems or applications. By using Virtual Patching, you can have more control over updates and mitigate the potential risks associated with immediate updates. 

It is important to note that Virtual Patching may not cover all ways of exploiting vulnerable applications, so it does not replace the need to keep systems up to date and migrate to supported versions of Windows. However, during the EOL period, having this additional layer of protection can help you reduce security risks and protect systems until you complete the migration to a supported and compatible version of the operating system.  

To reduce the attack surface when using operating systems or third-party applications in EOL, we need a solution that includes technologies such as: 

  • Contextual detections that prevent the execution of anomalous behaviors that are often exploited through vulnerabilities.  

  • Anti-exploit technology to stop vulnerable behavior even before a patch is available. 

  • Possibility of inspecting network packets using firewall technology to drop network traffic that exploits vulnerabilities.  

Watchguard EDPR includes all these technologies that help reduce the attack surface by complementing our Patch Management solution to provide maximum protection for systems running EOL software. 

If you are interested in learning more about using patches to protect your devices and your customers' devices, you can check the following links:  

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