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<a href="/news/windows-xp-malware-a-major-problem-as-market-share-grows" title="Windows XP Malware a Major Problem as Market Share Grows">Windows XP Malware a Major Problem as Market Share Grows</a>
Posted on: 03 Jul 2014 

Posted By: IT Wiser

Windows XP Malware a Major Problem as Market Share Grows


Almost three months have passed since Microsoft ended support for Windows XP; however, this has not deterred businesses still using the 12-year-old operating system in their millions. According to the latest stats by web traffic analyst Net Market Share, Windows XP had a June market share of 25.31% – second only to Windows 7, and remarkably an increase on the previous month’s market share of 25.27%.

Of course, with Windows XP still prominent and now unsupported by Microsoft, the threat of malware lurks larger than ever – as is proven by the presence of the DOWNAD worm in the top three business malware threats in Q2 2014.

DOWNAD, also known as Conficker, can infect entire networks via malicious URLs, spam emails, or removable drives. Windows XP is particularly vulnerable to the virus because it is known to exploit the MS08-067 Server service weakness in order to execute arbitrary code. The worm also has the ability to create randomly generated URLs by using its own domain generation algorithm (DGA).

Trend Micro, who reported on the top malware programs, warned that around 175 IP addresses using various ports are found to be related to DOWNAD.

“During our monitoring of the spam landscape, we observed that in Q2, more than 40 per cent of malware related spam mails are delivered by machines infected by DOWNAD worm,” wrote Trend Micro engineer Maria Manly.

“A number of machines are still infected by this threat and leveraged to send the spammed messages to further increase the number of infected systems. And with Microsoft ending the support for Windows XP this year, we can expect that systems with this OS can be infected by threats like DOWNAD.”

XP Protection

With millions of business unwilling to currently consider an upgrade to Windows 7, 8 or 8.1 due to cost and infrastructure issues, Windows XP is expected to sit as Microsoft’s second most popular OS for a while yet. This is obviously great news to proponents of malware who will continue to attempt to exploit the lack of default security.

If you expect to use Windows XP for the foreseeable future, it is essential that you have protection in place in the form of Cloud Web Security. With no security provided by Microsoft, a lack of third-party support will leave your computer wide open to DOWNAD and other common malware threats that could spell disaster for your business.

Cloud Web Security is designed to ensure a malware threat does not become a breach. Contact us today to find out more about our exclusive security software.

The Register