You certainly know by now that Windows XP will soon exit support. Microsoft has given ample notice, and the OS is long-past its prime. However, many individuals and businesses continue to utilize the platform. To that end, there is a bit of a scramble to tie up some loose ends and keep things as safe as possible. Microsoft, for its part, has pledged continued updates to Security Essentials for an additional year. Now Avast is also throwing its hat in the ring.
Today the company sent out an announcement to the press that contains a bit of information about both the anticipated problems and also the plans to help mitigate these issues. "The Windows XP support end date is quickly approaching, yet AVAST's database shows that 23.6% of its more than 200 million users are still running Windows XP. Consumers are not the only ones reluctant to make the switch, whether the reason be financial or comfort, many businesses, especially small businesses have not made the switch yet either. Ondrej Vlcek, Chief Operating Officer of AVAST, believes that the termination of security updates by Microsoft to XP will create more problems than people may realize. Sensitive and personal data stored on PCs running Windows XP, such as in medical offices, are at high risk of landing in the hands of hackers. Our telemetry data shows that XP users are 6 times more likely to get hacked than Windows 7 users and once Microsoft stops issuing patches, this can worsen", Avast states.
While we can sometimes dismiss security companies for perceived scare tactics -- they are in the business of selling protection against the perils warned of -- this time the threat is credible. When Patch Tuesday passes on April 8th, there is the possibility that holes in the OS, being kept a secret by hackers, will suddenly be exploited in the wild. Why release vulnerabilities when there is still one more chance for them to be patched?