In the 15th volume of the Microsoft Security Intelligence Report, it is revealed that Windows XP systems suffer a malware infection rate six times that of Windows 8. The report found that computers running Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7 and Windows 8 all encountered roughly the same amount of malware — between 12 and 20 percent of systems — but it was Windows XP users that exhibited much higher rates of infection.
Microsoft is keen to use the finding of the report to highlight the dangers of using unsupported software. The company has been trying to move users away from Windows XP for some time now, and support finally comes to an end in April 2014.
There will undoubtedly be many companies and individuals who continue to use the aged operating system, but the report makes clear the dangers of doing so. In a blog post, Tim Rains, Director of Trustworthy Computing, said: “After April next year, when we release monthly security updates for supported versions of Windows, attackers will try and reverse engineer them to identify any vulnerabilities that also exist in Windows XP. If they succeed, attackers will have the capability to develop exploit code to take advantage of them.”
To drive this point home, Microsoft points out that when Windows XP Service Pack 2 came out if its support period, its malware infection rate shot up to 66 percent higher than Windows XP Service Pack 3.
Interestingly, the report also shows that home users are one and half times as likely to encounter threats as enterprise users.Further reading: Security, Windows 8, Windows XP