XPocalypse later?

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Well it’s two months after the so called XPocalypse; the terrible wave of exploits that security experts predicted devastate the ancient operating system and I’m busy washing the remains of the egg off my face!

No sign of World-wide XP-specific attacks even though Microsoft were one of the first to shout in October 2013, when Tim Rains, director of Microsoft’s Trustworthy Computing group, cited statistics from the firm’s own telemetry to suggest that post-retirement Windows XP malware infection rates could jump dramatically.

But what did we get… zip, nada, zilch and a fair bit of egg on my face not to mention soem suspicions about talking many of my clients into dumping their tried and trusted old OS friend for it’s newer brother.

Last month a hack duped Windows Update into serving Windows XP systems with patches, but patches were from Windows Embedded POSReady 2009. That version, admittedly based on Windows XP SP3, was designed for point-of-sale systems, particularly cash registers, and automated teller machines. “Of course they say it is a bad idea to use the hack, they want people to move to Windows 8 and later Windows 9,” chimed in a reader identified only as “nilst2011” in a comment appended to the Computerworld news story.

But perhaps the good news, depending on your point of view, is that a zero day exploit for XP is not likely to target your ancient dual-core but be developed for a specific purpose and the available market of high-value Windows XP targets is dropping with every month, in short Cornficker 2 is probably not going to happen. In the last 12 months, XP has dropped 12.5% losing 33% it’s share as of May 2013, according to analytics firm Net Applications. If Windows XP continues to lose user share at its current tempo, it will be powering less than 10% all personal computers a year from now.

Meanwhile, despite the yolk being on me I’ll continue to recommend that users either install Windows 7 or 8 or buy a new machine. In the long run, I know it makes sense, in the short run, I hope my clients do as well.

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