Hanging on to Windows XP? You’re More Vulnerable to Malware - HotHardware
Hanging on to Windows XP? You’re More Vulnerable to Malware

Hanging on to Windows XP? You’re More Vulnerable to Malware

If you're still rocking Windows XP, we admire your dedication and ability to squeeze over a decade of use out of an operating system you presumably purchased long ago (nobody pirates XP, right?), but the end is nigh if you care at all about security. Come April 2014, Microsoft will cease supporting the legacy OS, thereby leaving your system vulnerable to new and emerging threats.

You're not alone. According to StatCounter's data, over 20 percent of PCs still run XP, making it the second most popular version of Windows behind Windows 7 (nearly 52 percent). That's a pretty frightening statistic because unless there's a mass exodus between now and next April, malware writers are going to be frothing at the mouth.

The landscape is already pretty grim for Windows XP users. Microsoft's latest Security Intelligence Report (Volume 15) highlights how much of a disadvantage users of the legacy OS are at compared to more recent versions of Windows. According to Microsoft's data, the infection rate of Windows XP is significantly higher than Windows 8 and is rivaled only by the 64-bit version of Vista.

Infection Rate
Source: Microsoft

For every 1,000 computers running Windows XP, 9.1 are infected with malware. That compares with 1.4 per 1,000 for Windows 8 64-bit. Windows 7 with SP1 is less than 5 per 1,000.

Miscellaneous Trojans as part of the INF/Autorun family are the biggest threat to Windows XP, followed by HTML/IfreamRef exploits (malicious JavaScript). Conficker worms and viruses designed to swipe your personal info also appear in the top 5 threat categories for XP.

Are you still running Windows XP on any of your machines? If so, do you plan to upgrade by April 2014?
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Let's all roll back to DOS.

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I have a perfectly good Acer laptop That I bought brand new in late 2006 just before Vista was released. It was an inexpensive lower spec model that was supposed to be upgradable to Vista. When Vista was released it bombed and so I didn't upgrade. Until recently I still used this laptop anytime I traveled for personal use. It still works. Should I just toss it because Microsoft has decided to stop patching XP?? I'll probably try putting Ubuntu on it which should be a lot safe than any windows release and giving it away to some kid in need. You know Ford Motor Company still sells parts for engines they started selling in the early sixties. If 20% of computers still run XP it seems to me there is a business there for providing patches to keep it safe. Maybe it's a bad precedent to set but I would pay $10-$20 a year for a subscription to such a service. How many pay for security software already?? Seems like a no brainer to me but only MS has the source code and resources to create such a business.

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But see that 20% will only get smaller and smaller. As fast as people are buying computers especially old ones it not financially sound to continue to putting money and time to updating a previous iteration that no one will be buying. Eventually they will disappear just like users of every previous iteration. Also its up to you to throw out your laptop( i would personally upgrade but thats me) but for those that still run it its a just a warning to be aware.

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