Microsoft have issued a stark warning over security issues of non-supported operating systems, after confirming that their Windows XP operating system will no longer be supported from 8th April 2014.
Volume 15 of the companies Security Intelligence Report places special emphasis on the risk of running unsupported operating systems and software and highlights the security enhancements provided by newer Windows versions, Windows 8 in particular.
Through a threat analysis covering over one billion consumer and enterprise PC systems around the world, Microsoft found that almost 17% of those featuring up-to-date, real-time Microsoft security products were targeted by malware. The number of malicious programs was similar for Windows 8 and Windows XP but with the latter computers were six times more likely to get infected by the malware. To drive its security point home, Microsoft also noted the surge in malware infections after the end of support for Windows XP Service Pack 2: in the two years since then, infections have leaped by 66% compared to machines running Windows XP Service Pack 3. This version will no longer be supported from next April.
Tim Rains, director of Microsoft Trustworthy Computing, said that the company was keen to make users fully aware of how dangerous it is to use unsupported operating systems and software. The latest report provides data that clearly illustrates the dangers and the importance of upgrading to newer, more secure operating systems. Windows 8 is an example of a modern OS equipped with sophisticated security technologies designed to prevent cyber attackers from exploiting potential vulnerabilities, Rains added.