Microsoft has just released the Security Intelligence Report 15 which includes details on the recent malware activity affecting the company’s products, as well as statistics and figures regarding the infection rate of its operating system.Windows XP is one of the main topics in the new report and as Microsoft collects data from more than 1 billion computers with Windows Update turned on, it tries to explain to everyone that sticking to this particular operating system beyond its retirement date is very risky.
What Microsoft is trying to say is that Windows XP is slowly becoming a very vulnerable operating system, so moving to either Windows 8 or 8.1 is a critical step for most users out there.
“Infection rates for more recently released operating systems and service packs tend to be lower than infection rates for earlier releases, for both client and server platforms,” the report reads.
“Encounter rates also tend to be significantly lower on server platforms than on client platforms: servers are not typically used to browse the web nearly as frequently as client computers, and web browser features such as Enhanced Security Configuration in Internet Explorer discourage using servers to visit untrusted websites.”
As you can see in this chart, Windows XP SP3 is at this point the most vulnerable operating system on the market and after its April 8, 2014 retirement date, the number of exploits at this version is very likely to grow.
Windows 8, on the other hand, is said to include much more advanced protection features, so its CCM rate has dropped to 2.3 points on the 32-bit version and to 1.4 points on the 64-bit release.
Windows 8.1 does everything even better. Microsoft promotes the new 8.1 as the right choice for everyone, not necessarily because it’s the latest OS that got released, but also because it bundles multiple security improvements.
The main problem, however, is that moving from Windows XP to 8.1 requires new hardware which in most cases makes it a very costly transition.