Windows XP Infection Rate To Rise by Two-Thirds in April

Microsoft wants you to upgrade to Windows 8.1, and the company offered a scary incentive to get you to take the leap. Redmond is reporting that the chance malware will infect your Windows XP-based PC after April 8 could rise by two-thirds.

The news comes as part of a Microsoft Security Intelligence Report that provides threat intelligence and analysis of cyber threats in more than 100 countries and regions worldwide. Among other things, the report highlights the risk of unsupported software.

During the first half of 2013, currently supported versions of Windows desktop operating systems -- Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7 and Windows 8 -- all had roughly similar malware encounter rates of between 12 percent and 20 percent. But, Microsoft reports, Windows XP systems had an infection rate that was six times higher than Windows 8.

Why the Exponential Risk?

EUMicrosoft Windows XP was released almost 12 years ago, which is an eternity in technology terms,EU said Tim Rains, director of Trustworthy Computing at Microsoft. EUWhile we are proud of Windows XPEUs success in serving the needs of so many people for more than a decade, inevitably there is a tipping point where dated software and hardware can no longer defend against modern day threats and increasingly sophisticated cybercriminals.EU

Since the launch of Windows XP, Rains said, the number of people using the Internet has grown from 360 million to more than 2.4 billion. The world has witnessed the rise of the Internet citizen with members of society connected through e-mail, instant messaging, video calling, social networking and a host of Web-based and device-centric applications.

EUAs the Internet becomes more and more woven into the fabric of society, it has also become an increasingly popular destination for malicious activity,EU Rains said. EUIn 1991, there were about 1,000 forms of malware or threats...

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