Windows 8 Is Hackers’ Next Big Target – McAfee

Security company predicts that Windows 8 will face a new wave of attacks in 2013

Windows 8 is considered one of the most secure operating systems to date, but security company McAfee predicts that Microsoft’s new platform will have to face a new wave of attacks next year.

Cybercriminals, however, will continue to target users directly, so the security improvements made available into Windows 8 may not protect you from all threats, McAfee said.

“In many cases they attack the user and not the OS. Via phishing and other techniques users are tricked into revealing information or installing a malicious program. So if you upgrade, don’t rely solely on Windows to protect your system: Remain vigilant and watch out for phishing scams,” the company explained in a PDF document.

Microsoft has already admitted in a public statement that, despite Windows 8’s security enhancements, hackers are continuously developing new ways to break into operating systems and attack users.

So it’s no surprise that some have even managed to find quick techniques to activate Windows 8 at no cost, the company said.

“Windows 8 should provide improved security against malware and exploits compared with earlier versions of Windows, at least for a while. Now that the underground market for attack and malware kits is much more competitive than three years ago, it is likely that Windows 8–specific malware will be available quicker than Windows 7–specific malware appeared,” McAfee added.

But overall, Windows 8 is clearly a more secure operating system, so upgrading from a previous Windows iteration is highly recommended, the security company added. Plenty of users are still running Windows XP, an 11-year-old platform that’s currently the second most popular Windows contraption on the market.

Microsoft will stop offering support for Windows XP in April, 2014, so moving to a newer Windows release is a thing everybody has to do at some point.

“In spite of any flaws, Windows 8 is a more secure OS, so upgrading is worth considering. Millions still run Windows XP, which only in fall 2012 was finally eclipsed in the number of its users by newer versions of Windows,” the company concluded.

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