In the last week or so, tech media channels have been all a-buzz about Microsofts’ announcement to end updates and support for the XP operating system as of April 8th, 2014.
This is huge news for anyone involved in PC security, because an estimated 25-40% of the world’s computers still run the operating system. This means that when Microsoft cuts service, millions of PCs will simultaneously become vulnerable to an attack.
Emsisoft will continue to provide support for Emsisoft Anti-Malware on Windows XP until April 2016, a full two years beyond Microsoft’s cutoff date. We have chosen to extend protection as long as it makes sense in terms of security, and when the time comes we may extend protection even further. Millions of unprotected PCs are nothing to ignore, and as a company dedicated to anti-malware protection it our view that as long as a significant portion of people are using an OS, it should be secure.
With that in mind, it is important to realize that even with our extended protection your Windows XP computer will still be vulnerable to an attack. Starting in April 2014, Microsoft will no longer be providing updates for the operating system. As time moves on, this will make the system easier and easier to exploit for hackers. This is because securing a PC is much like securing a home. Even with the best Anti-Malware, it can only be as safe as its structure is intact. In time, running XP will become like living in a home without a front door. You could purchase an expensive alarm system, but it wouldn’t stop an intruder from walking right in.
It is also important to know that extending protection on XP takes time away from our development efforts for newer operating systems, and prevents us from using a lot of APIs we would like to be using today.
We therefore recommend that anyone still running Windows XP migrate to a newer OS as soon as possible to ensure the most comprehensive protection.
What About Windows Security Essentials?
You may have heard that Windows has recently chosen to extend XP malware protection by offering updates to its Security Essentials malware scanner until July 14, 2015. While this is a friendly gesture, it is important to know that Security Essentials offers only the very most basic anti-malware protection. In a recent test conducted by independent agency AV-TEST, Security Essentials only protected the testing PC from 4/5 signatures within the malware sample, letting one in five get through. This earned it a 0 in AV-TEST’s Protection category.
This means that if you are relying on Security Essentials, you will no longer be protected. If this is the case, Emsisoft again recommends updating your operating system as soon as possible, and then choosing a comprehensive anti-malware to ensure prevention.
There are a lot of options to choose from, but if you’re looking for something unobtrusive that can provide protection where Windows won’t, we recommend none finer than Emsisoft Anti-Malware.