Microsoft has announced that they will continue to provide virus warnings for the Windows XP operating system until 14th July 2015.
Microsoft has already announced that the Windows XP operating system will no longer be officially supported from 8th April 2014. Microsoft have been keen to emphasise that the decision to extend the antimalware support for Windows XP will have no impact on the end of support date and that they have only extended the antimalware support to help organisations complete their migrations.
In a blog post released by Microsoft, it stated that. “Our goal is to provide great antimalware solutions for our consumer and business customers. We will continue to work with our customers and partners in doing so, and help our customers complete their migrations as Windows XP end of life approaches.”
The extended deadline in antimalware support for Windows XP means that malware spotting updates will be provided for Microsoft’s Security Essentials and for a wide range of corporate tools used to protect a large number of PCs. This is done through continued provision of signatures for malicious programs that will help Windows XP detect viruses and Trojans when they try to compromise a PC.
What may have prompted Microsoft to extend the antimalware support for Windows XP is the high percentage of people that still use this operating system. A study that was undertaken by Net Applications revealed that Windows XP machines still made up 28.98% of the market share on desktops in December 2013.
Microsoft has already warned that once the Windows XP operating system is no longer supported, this will be the first thing that hackers will try to exploit.
Tim Rains who is the director of Microsoft’s Trustworthy Computing group stated, “The very first month that Microsoft releases security updates for supported versions of Windows, attackers will reverse-engineer those updates, find the vulnerabilities and test Windows XP to see if it shares them.”
Rains added, “If it does, attackers will attempt to develop exploit code that can take advantage of those vulnerabilities on Windows XP. Since a security update will never become available for Windows XP to address these vulnerabilities, Windows XP will essentially have a zero-day vulnerability forever.”
It is highly advisable that if you are currently utilising computers with the Windows XP operating system, that you start to make immediate plans to migrate to a newer supported operating system as quickly and efficiently as possible if you haven’t already done so. By delaying the migration to a newer and supported operating system, this will increase the vulnerability of your machine(s) and increase the likelihood of it being successfully compromised by malicious programs.