Windows XP: The state of third party security

Windows XP: The state of third party security

Summary: If you're going to stick with XP when security updates from Microsoft are gone, your security software will become more crucial than ever. Which are best?

TOPICS: Security, Windows

Markus Selinger of independent test lab AV-Test has written a warning about the impending end of Windows XP security updates and summarizing their most recent test results for third party security suites for that operating system.

The useful parts of Selinger's analysis focus on the test data, part of which is embedded below. If users are going to stick with Windows XP past the support end date of April 8, 2014, then the quality of your security suite is crucial. Because there will certainly be new vulnerabilities in Windows XP that will remain unpatched you'll need other protections to keep them away from your computer. A quality security suite can provide these.

Selinger notes that the free options for Windows XP security are not the very best ones. The best of the free solutions, AVG Anti-Virus Free Edition, came close to the top, but G Data, Avira, BitDefender and especially Kaspersky's subscription products did better.

The detection rates of protection packages when tested using Windows XP: The products' detection rates in the real-world test are particularly important because they reflect their ability to detect brand-new attackers (as shown in the test results from Sept/Oct 2013 using Windows XP)

Selinger criticizes Microsoft heavily for abandoning XP users, a position with which I must disagree. Microsoft has been supporting XP for 12 years, far longer than any other vendor supports any other software product, and the core of the OS simply can't be securited to the degree that newer versions can. His point about Windows 8 usage share being (according to only 9% compared to XP's 21% misses the point that Windows 8 is relatively new and it's share is rising while XP's is dropping.

In fact, while you should secure your Windows XP system as best you can if you keep running it past April, you would be better off moving to a newer version of Windows, either Windows 7 or Windows 8.

Topics: Security, Windows

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  • Lose XP altogether....

    Come on...move on to Win7/8
    • RE:

      I would avoid 8 because of the built in backdoors MS put into the OS. Either stick with 'nix, 7, or wait to see what happens with Windows 9.
      • BTW

        I am not a brand loyaltist; I use both POSIX-compliant machines and Windows, and both can be secure if they are patched properly. However, my PC is not a smartphone, I don't want an app store foisted upon me, and definitely not one with a backdoor on it. What's on my PC is only accessible by me, and me only! Shame on Microsoft.
        • Linux is the best AV-software

          1. No Malware
          2. No Spyware
          3. No Crapware

          Stable, secure, fast, free, decent platform for clients and servers.
          • RE:

            Yes, it is very secure due to its Unix roots. It was built with security in mind, not as an afterthought.
          • Yet...

            Worms and Rootkits (hence the name) originated on UNIX.

            *nix is only as secure as the admin that sets it up makes it. There are plenty of exploits. That said, we had our new Linux based server product tested by an official testing body this week and they only came up with 2 security holes that weren't patched, which allowed them to gain access to the machine - changing the configuration made it safe.

            But there was no X-Windows, no GUI installed, no web server, everything battoned down to just perform the task our software was designed for.

            As part of the certification process, you have to show that the system will be regularly patched against external threats and that that process has good controls in place.

            Linux - safer, but not safe (unless you remove the power supply from the PC and bury it in concrete).
          • Good reply

            Ah a decent post for a change
          • Security was built into the NT kernel from the beginning.

            The problem was not the security but that on the desktop everyone was admin. That admittedly was a huge flaw in Bill Gates' vision. But they have addressed it.

            No OS is safe. CERT records regular attacks on Linux servers. And Linux is being patched all the time just like Windows and OS-X.
          • Not NONE, just almost none.

            Hi :)
            Hmm, well there are 300 known malware agents but they haven't been updated so only work on ancient versions.

            Windows had 800,000 when i last checked and tons new ones since then no doubt.
            Regards from
            tom :)
          • u are so wrong

            1. No Malware - Yes because it is less than 2% market share (not counting illegal MS activations)

            2. No Spyware - The most used linux - Ubuntu is in fact free spyware :D This is not mine insight - Richard Stallman says Ubuntu Linux is 'spyware'. Check it on Youtube and you will understand how wrong u are here.

            3. The only crap here is Linux itself. Yes it is free crap, but people pay $ and get an OS to work on, and use really useful software. It is for businessmen not for safe adult browsing like Linux.

            Stable - Since XP the only unstable was Vista. Secure - No issues with 8.1 for the moment without antivirus.

            FAST - ARE YOU SERIOUS. If you use ARCH may be, but WINDOWS 8.1 IS FAST AS LIGHTENING! Way faster than Ubuntu on the same hardware!

            Stop talking about how linux dominate the servers. The end user don't really care
          • 4. No Software

            I love Linux for servers, but do you really think people who are afraid to move off of XP are really going to jump to Linux on the desktop?

            If Linux ever does take over the majority of desktops, it will have roughly the same amount of viruses, trojans and malware. Hackers go where the money and notoriety are.
          • Oh....

            Zzzzz. What are Linux zealots doing reading a Windows related article? Waiting for your binaries to recompile?
          • When you check CERT linux is being hacked all the time

            There certainly IS malware. It started with UNIX.

            Don't get me wrong. Linux is a good OS but it is being patched all the time for security issues being found just like Windows. And third party analysts consider the difference between Windows and Linux in the security realm to be very minor.
      • MS didn't put backdoors in 7?

        Apparently you missed the COFEE and DECAF controversy for 7.

        The problem with 8 is the ease to get flashed with a malicious BIOS rootkit, despite UEFI.
        • RE:

          I heard about the backdoors, but Windows 8.x has a publicized backdoor right in the app store, and since we can't see the source code, we don't know how it works or how vulnerable it is. It just shows you how ignorant people are that use Windows 8.
          • Backdoors?

            Sources please.

            Tell me where you "heard" this from.
          • You won't get a source.

            Because there is none. It's all made up in his head.
            The one and only, Cylon Centurion
          • RE:

            The kill switch is one publicized backdoor with capabilities that you do not even know of (that is unless you have source code which is highly unlikely for a troll like you); obviously you are too much of an ignorant MS Shill to connect the dots.
          • Move along, Citizen

            Nothing to see here.
        • Errr....

          Don't you love people who INVENT things and can't back them up? Next time, when you post useless/unfounded comments maybe back it up with proof.... Or any credibility you have is shot down in flames.