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Windows XP, You Have Served Us Well

Tomorrow is going to be a Microsoft special—special in the sense that it’s not only Patch Tuesday but also the last time Microsoft will be putting out fixes for Windows XP.

This means that XP users, home and enterprise alike, will be left unsupported.

Microsoft confirmed the much beloved OS, Windows XP, as also its least secure.  Yet, XP ranks second to Windows 7 in being the most used operating system worldwide.

According to a recent StatCounter report, the former has a global market share of 19.2%, with heavy users in Africa and Asia, while the latter has a global share of 54.3%.

StatCounter Graph
Source: StatCounter Global Stats – OS Market Share

But despite a seven-year notice to upgrade, there are just some businesses and organizations that aren’t ready to let go of XP.

Banks using XP Embedded, a stripped-down thus more secure version of XP, will continue to receive support until 2019. The UK and Dutch  governments, too, were guaranteed extended support for another year after signing an agreement with Microsoft.

Microsoft’s end of support of Windows XP was inevitable. In three years time, Windows Vista will be ending its lifecycle. In six years, Windows 7. And even today, one technology analyst stated that this fairly new OS, which was released in 2007, is already obsolete due to its huge difference with Windows 8.

In order to help users protect themselves better, we at Malwarebytes provide the following to enable users and companies to have a fighting chance for keeping their computers and personal information secured.

KEEP THIRD-PARTY SOFTWARE UP-TO-DATE

This means Office, PDF readers, Java, and every other piece of software installed on your Windows XP computers. This will lower the exposure to vulnerability exploits in Internet-facing applications.

DO NOT USE INTERNET EXPLORER

Download and install Firefox or Google Chrome which will continue supporting Windows XP users. Make sure you choose your new browser as the “default” browser.

USE A LIMITED USER ACCOUNT

Most of malware and exploit attacks can be mitigated by creating and using a limited user account. However, malware can still run and end up escalating privileges, so don’t rely solely on this recommendation.

UPGRADE YOUR MICROSOFT OFFICE 2003

Windows XP is not the only software being abandoned. Microsoft Office 2003 is also affected. There are many exploit-rigged DOC and XLS files that can use Microsoft Office 2003 to infect Windows XP computers.

PROTECT AGAINST ZERO-DAY MALWARE

Antivirus vendors will continue supporting their products for Windows XP for at least for another year. Take advantage of that. But, more importantly, make sure to complement your antivirus of choice with Malwarebytes Anti-Malware Premium which provides real-time protection against zero-day malware.

Unlike traditional antivirus products Malwarebytes Anti-Malware was designed to run along your antivirus product, so this is clearly a case of “two is better than one.

PROTECT AGAINST ZERO-DAY EXPLOITS

One of our most important recommendations is to install Malwarebytes Anti-Exploit, which provides protection against zero-day exploits and unpatched vulnerabilities.

Since there will be an ever-growing of zero-day exploits for Windows XP every month that passes, we can’t stress enough how important Malwarebytes Anti-Exploit is as a key ingredient to keep your Windows XP systems safe.

Jovi Umawing


7 thoughts on “Windows XP, You Have Served Us Well

  1. Jeramy Skidmore says on April 7, 2014 at 3:10 pm :

    You really need to have a plan for migrating to a supported OS instead of planning ‘how to keep XP secure’. You can use ipsec and domain isolation, whitelisting, that kind of thing, but it becomes an increasingly risky gamble. You really need to just bite the bullet and upgrade your infrastructure. XP exploit s are going to explode like internet stocks in the ’90s in the next six months. Don’t get hit.

  2. Adam Kujawa says on April 7, 2014 at 4:22 pm :

    Great advice Jeramy, unfortunately for those folks who have been using XP for a decade now need to not only upgrade their OS but also hardware, since 7/8 will most likely not run on a system designed for XP.

  3. Julien Ascoet says on April 7, 2014 at 11:52 pm :

    What about ATMs? They will be exposed for sure, and they are NEVER updated, nor protected.

  4. Jovi Umawing says on April 8, 2014 at 3:39 am :

    For banks that use XP Embedded, Microsoft still services them until January 2016, so they’re safe for the time being. Unfortunately for those that use the actual XP OS, they would have to figure out for themselves how they can mitigate problems they may likely encounter in the future. If they don’t, chances are that they’ll lose clients. All banks (even those running XP Embedded) would have to do something about their ATM machines, eventually, as maintaining a vulnerable OS is clearly no longer an option in the long run.

    Thanks for your comment, Julien!

  5. edummett says on April 10, 2014 at 2:55 pm :

    The global economic crisis referred to as “The Great Recession” no doubt had a dampening effect on business vis-a-vis capital expenditures for technology upgrades. The bad press revolving around the successor to Windows XP, Windows Vista did not help. This despite the fact that Windows 7 in my view is a true and worthy heir to XP. I don’t have too many technical dislikes of Windows 8 (anyone who survived Vista on underperforming platforms would not !), but the blowback on the part of some users with the change to the user interface is a bit stiff.

    Having said that, it’s high time to upgrade. The level and sophistication of the security threats in today’s computing world make running any unsupported software a risk not worth taking. If you insist on continuing to run XP, I would seriously urge you to remove any financial software and be exceedingly careful in using your computer for online purchasing and other such transactions. I would refrain from using an XP machine for these purposes all together.

  6. windowsxp says on April 13, 2014 at 11:56 am :

    Honestly, there isn’t nothing wrong with windows xp yet, it can run and support modern hardware we use today, the exception being certain drivers (I dualbooted my computer with windows 7 just to connect my phone to my computer to unbrick it!)

  7. technut says on April 30, 2014 at 12:14 am :

    Funny, on 4/27/2014 our Windows XP Pro just was updated with a patch from Microsoft. We thought they had given up on XP last week?

    Guess not!
    —————————————

    2014-04-27 03:00:10:031 1936 ecc AU ## START ## AU: Install updates
    2014-04-27 03:00:10:031 1936 ecc AU #########
    2014-04-27 03:00:10:031 1936 ecc AU # Initiating scheduled install
    2014-04-27 03:00:10:031 1936 ecc AU # Approved updates = 1
    2014-04-27 03:00:14:843 1936 ecc AU <<## SUBMITTED ## AU: Install updates / installing updates [CallId = {26D6F93B-F9B8-4DC0-B0DE-ED5BE6DD7338}]
    2014-04-27 03:00:14:843 1936 1618 Agent *************
    2014-04-27 03:00:14:843 1936 1618 Agent ** START ** Agent: Installing updates [CallerId = AutomaticUpdates]
    2014-04-27 03:00:14:843 1936 1618 Agent *********
    2014-04-27 03:00:14:843 1936 1618 Agent * Updates to install = 1
    2014-04-27 03:00:14:890 2980 118 CltUI AU client got new directive = 'Shutdown', serviceId = {7971F918-A847-4430-9279-4A52D1EFE18D}, return = 0×00000000
    2014-04-27 03:00:15:046 1936 ecc AU AU received handle event
    2014-04-27 03:00:17:750 1936 1618 Agent * Title = Update for Windows XP (KB955759)
    2014-04-27 03:00:17:750 1936 1618 Agent * UpdateId = {6ACD6BCB-A59F-4926-A76E-D07E0C1ECA73}.100
    2014-04-27 03:00:17:750 1936 1618 Agent * Bundles 1 updates:
    2014-04-27 03:00:17:750 1936 1618 Agent * {6821815B-8861-4014-BB33-4E9B0CC0E81E}.100
    2014-04-27 03:00:31:140 1936 1618 DnldMgr Preparing update for install, updateId = {6821815B-8861-4014-BB33-4E9B0CC0E81E}.100.
    2014-04-27 03:00:31:250 1228 1110 Misc =========== Logging initialized (build: 7.6.7600.256, tz: -0700) ===========

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