Feeds

Fine! We'll keep updating WinXP's malware sniffer after April, says Microsoft

Venerable, vulnerable version given security software reprieve

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

Microsoft has capitulated to the legions of users who are still running Windows XP once again, by extending support for its antimalware software for the aging OS into 2015.

In the past, Redmond has warned that it would discontinue support for Microsoft Security Essentials, Forefront Client Security, Forefront Endpoint Protection, System Center Endpoint Protection, and Windows Intune running on Windows XP on the same day that support for the OS itself ends – April 8, 2014.

That would mean that Windows XP users would immediately stop receiving new malware signatures and engine updates on that date, even though Microsoft would still be providing updates for the same software running on Windows Vista and later.

In a blog post on Wednesday, however, Microsoft's Malware Protection Center group said the software giant has decided to give XP users one more reprieve – but not too long a one.

"To help organizations complete their migrations, Microsoft will continue to provide updates to our antimalware signatures and engine for Windows XP users through July 14, 2015," the post explained, which gives customers just 14 more months to upgrade.

XP users shouldn't breathe too easy, though. Those 14 months are expected to be dangerous ones, with hackers descending upon XP's final, never-to-be-patched vulnerabilities like a swarm of identity-thieving locusts. And each new security update that Microsoft releases for Windows Vista or later could potentially become a how-to manual for new exploits, should the same flaws exist in XP.

"Our research shows that the effectiveness of antimalware solutions on out-of-support operating systems is limited," Microsoft's malware mavens write. "Running a well-protected solution starts with using modern software and hardware designed to help protect against today's threat landscape."

Plenty of people have yet to heed that advice, however. Although the New Year saw a surge of upgrades, as we go to push the big, red Publish button on this story, Windows XP is still thought to be running on just under a third of the world's PCs. ®

Build a business case: developing custom apps

More from The Register

next story
14 antivirus apps found to have security problems
Vendors just don't care, says researcher, after finding basic boo-boos in security software
'Things' on the Internet-of-things have 25 vulnerabilities apiece
Leaking sprinklers, overheated thermostats and picked locks all online
iWallet: No BONKING PLEASE, we're Apple
BLE-ding iPhones, not NFC bonkers, will drive trend - marketeers
Only '3% of web servers in top corps' fully fixed after Heartbleed snafu
Just slapping a patched OpenSSL on a machine ain't going to cut it, we're told
Multipath TCP speeds up the internet so much that security breaks
Black Hat research says proposed protocol will bork network probes, flummox firewalls
How long is too long to wait for a security fix?
Synology finally patches OpenSSL bugs in Trevor's NAS
Israel's Iron Dome missile tech stolen by Chinese hackers
Corporate raiders Comment Crew fingered for attacks
Tor attack nodes RIPPED MASKS off users for 6 MONTHS
Traffic confirmation attack bared users' privates - but to whom?
Roll out the welcome mat to hackers and crackers
Security chap pens guide to bug bounty programs that won't fail like Yahoo!'s
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Maximize storage efficiency across the enterprise
The HP StoreOnce backup solution offers highly flexible, centrally managed, and highly efficient data protection for any enterprise.