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<a href="/news/windows-xp-users-6-times-more-likely-to-be-infected-by-malware" title="Windows XP Users 6 Times More Likely To Be Infected By Malware">Windows XP Users 6 Times More Likely To Be Infected By Malware</a>
Posted on: 31 Oct 2013 

Posted By: Robert Wakefield

Windows XP Users 6 Times More Likely To Be Infected By Malware


Windows XP, which was released 12 years ago this month, is six times more likely to be infected by malware than Windows 8 – that’s despite the two having the same malware encounter rate.

That statistic was revealed by Microsoft’s Trustworthy Computing general manager in his keynote presentation at the RSA Conference in Amsterdam this week; and the problem of malware will only become worse when Microsoft ends its support for the XP operating system in April next year.

Although XP has been around since 2001, and has seen Microsoft release Windows Vista, Windows 7 and Windows 8 in the years since, it remains a hugely popular OS for both personal and commercial users across the world. In fact, according to statistics from Net Market Share, XP powers almost a third (31.42%) of the world’s computers, which equates to around 500 million.

A report by Information Week this week says that Windows XP systems encounter around 16% of all malware in the wild – a figure matched by Windows Vista. Windows 7 suffers the biggest problem, encountering 19% of malware, while Windows 8 encounters 12%. The scale of the XP problem is worsened by the fact that an average of 9.1 in every 1000 Windows XP Service Pack 3 (SP3) systems is affected by malware, a rate far greater that Vista SP2 (5.5 systems in every 1000), Windows 7 SP1 (4.9 systems) and Windows 8 RTM (1.6 systems). For XP machines running the SP2 installation, malware infection rates were 66% higher than its successor.

Attackers given the advantage

Once support stops for XP in April 2014, Microsoft admits that hackers will have the upper hand – operating without worry of being stifled by a Patch Tuesday.

“On April 8, 2014, support will end for Windows XP,” said Trustworthy Computing’s company director Tim Rains in a blog post. “This means Windows XP users will no longer receive security updates, non-security hotfixes or free/paid assisted support options and online technical content updates. After end of support, attackers will have an advantage over defenders who continue to run Windows XP.”

Large organisations using XP will have the opportunity to purchase continued dedicated support, but it will come at a price - $200 per machine for the first year, $400 per machine for the second year, and a massive $800 per machine for a third year.

Judging by these costs, and Microsoft’s admission that hackers will have it all their own way come April, it’s clear that the company want people to move on from XP.

In the long term, moving on to Windows 8 is probably going to be in the best interests of your business; however, you cannot be expected to do this overnight, or even in six months. Therefore, it is essential that you have cloud web security in place to ensure that, when support from Microsoft does end, your systems are protected from any threats. It is also makes sense to embrace cloud online backup to provide extra security for your files and gain peace of mind from the fact that your important data is safe from every eventuality.

If you are an XP user, get in touch with ITWiser today to discuss how we can provide you with support long after Microsoft have gone. 
The Register