Six months ago, on April 8, 2014, Microsoft effectively pulled the plug on Windows XP.
Microsoft announced they would no longer create security updates for their decade-plus old operating system. April 8, 2014, was the date of the last Windows XP security update.
Since that date, Windows XP has been floating through the dangers of the internet unprotected. New threats have arisen and Windows XP users aren’t protected against most of those threats – unless they use good antivirus software.
After Windows XP’s last update was launched, many people believed that the OS would immediately because a cesspool of vulnerabilities and viruses. Hackers around the world would exploit zero-day bugs and users would have no defense against them.
But is that true? A recent study by AV-Test found some surprising results:
Most Windows XP antivirus software effectively defends the OS against attacks
Is Windows XP still safe? The answer is a definite “yes” – that is, if you’re using antivirus software.
AV-Test studied leading security suites like Kaspersky, BitDefender, and Panda Antivirus – all of which scored excellent marks during testing.
Here’s what AV-Test learned:
-There are a number of open vulnerabilities and exploits on Windows XP that have been discovered since the April 8, 2014 final security patch
-BitDefender, Kaspersky, and Panda all effectively protect users against these common exploits and achieved high protection scores for consumers
-On the business side of things, corporate solutions like Trend Micro and the office versions of BitDefender and Kaspersky also took the lead
-The worst security suite of them all? Microsoft Security Essentials, which provided a baseline for testing. No security suite performed worse when detecting common threats.
-Not all security suites were equal. Certain software – including F-Secure, Avira, Kingsoft, and Symantec – were all extremely performance-intensive, which is not ideal on an aging operating system.
How long will users be protected?
Right now, antivirus makers are making good on their promise to protect Windows XP users better than Microsoft could.
Windows 9 is just around the corner. It wouldn’t be unreasonable to assume that antivirus makers will support users until they finally migrate to the newest OS.
That’s expected to release to consumers in April 2015.
Today, there are nearly twice as many Windows XP users as there are Windows 8/8.1 users. Considering one OS released two years ago and the other OS released 12 years ago, that’s a significant margin. As long as Windows XP maintains a huge market share, antivirus makers will continue releasing updates.
Leading up to the Windows XP death date, antivirus makers grumbled that Microsoft was simply passing the security torch to them. Microsoft was expecting these antivirus makers to protect users while investing no money of their own into the OS.
Well, the good news is: that’s exactly what they’ve done. So keep using Windows XP and consider scanning it with PC Cleaner Pro from time to time to maximize its speed and performance.