Protecting over 200 million PCs, Macs, & Mobiles – more than any other antivirus

Archive

Posts Tagged ‘Windows XP’
April 21st, 2014

So you’re sticking to Windows XP? Here’s how to protect yourself.

It’s the end of Microsoft support, not the end of the world.

AVAST continues to protect Windows XP users.

Abandoned, rusting and full of holes.

For more than a year, Microsoft informed and reminded users to upgrade from Windows XP before their support expired. They warned users that they would be subject to “zero-day” threats forever more. But, even with all that, nearly 30 percent of internet-connected PCs continue to run Windows XP.

We asked our own users, and about 47 million of you stated that you are going to stay with your Windows XP operating system, despite the fact that Microsoft has pulled the plug on updates and support for the aging OS.

Alrighty, then. What now? How do you protect yourself against the coming threats?

Tips to keep yourself protected while still hanging on to Windows XP.

  • Buy a new computer as soon as you can. You can’t escape that one day that will be your only choice. So throw your left-over coins in a jar to start a new PC fund.
  • Upgrade the software that you have, but make sure it works with your system (remember, Windows XP is old, and software has moved on.) Make sure to apply any patches to the software you are using to avoid vulnerabilities. avast! Software Updater can help you with that.
  • Ditch Microsoft’s Internet Explorer and use a browser that offers the most advanced security and support. We suggest Google Chrome. They will continue supporting Windows XP until at least April 2015.
  • Use antivirus software and keep it updated. You don’t have to buy an expensive suite – avast! Free Antivirus works just fine, and we pledge to support Windows XP users for the next 3 years.
  • If you don’t need it, lose it.  Remove insecure software that you don’t use, like the Java browser plug-in.
  • Get offline or stay away as often as you can. If you’re disconnected from the network, the cybercrooks can’t find you. And you can be guaranteed they’ll be looking.

AVAST has got your back

AVAST’s COO, Ondrej Vlcek, explained about the dangers of staying with Windows XP in Another Data Breach Crisis Looms as Microsoft’s D-Day for XP Forces Security Scramble, but he also had some good news for users hanging on.

AVAST is devoted to protecting the PC ecosystem by not only supporting Windows XP for at least the next three years, but also by creating protection modules and detections specifically designed to cover Windows XP vulnerabilities and other security problems.

Tell other Windows XP users

Let you friends know that AVAST is protecting Windows XP. Lots of small business owners and people with older PCs and laptops are still running the OS. We can help keep them protected.

Thank you for using avast! Antivirus and recommending us to your friends and family. For all the latest news, fun and contest information, please follow us on FacebookTwitter and Google+. Business owners – check out our business products.

April 14th, 2014

Windows XP users sticking to the OS despite support cutoff

The majority of AVAST customers running Windows XP said they will rely on AVAST to protect them.

 

Last month Ondrej Vlcek, Chief Operating Officer of AVAST, shared his opinion on the end of Windows XP support by Microsoft, revealing that 23.6% of AVAST’s over 200 million users were still using Windows XP. Since then less than 2% of AVAST Windows XP users have parted ways with the operating system. We conducted a global survey just days before the support end date to find out how aware our Windows XP users were of the support cutoff and what they were planning on doing.

AVAST protects Windows XP usersHow aware were Windows XP users that their support was expiring?

Months ago Microsoft announced that it would no longer support Windows XP, sending daily warning messages to XP users a month before the end date, April 8, 2014. The media, especially technology-focused media, has been buzzing about the end of support. Our survey found that 21% of Windows XP users were unaware that Microsoft would be ending support, despite Microsoft’s efforts and the media attention around the topic.

What actions were Windows XP users planning on taking?

Although Microsoft recommends upgrading the operating system as the first option home XP users should take to protect themselves, AVAST found that only 15% of XP users were planning on upgrading their OS. The second option Microsoft suggests is for XP users to purchase a new PC, as many of the newer operating systems aren’t compatible with older devices. This does not seem like a popular option for many XP users, which is understandable considering the costs that come with purchasing a new PC. Only 5% of Windows XP users plan on purchasing a new PC. The majority of AVAST customers running Windows XP said they will rely on AVAST to protect them.

Windows XP post 2_April 2014How faithful Windows XP users should protect themselves.

The survey also revealed that 27% of Windows XP users were not planning on doing anything. As AVAST users they are protecting themselves since we will continue to support Windows XP users for at least the next three years. This number is relatively high considering the security risks involved with the OS and makes one wonder how many XP users are not concerned about their protection and aren’t planning on upgrading their OS, buying a new PC or seeking AV that will support them. AVAST has been creating protection modules and detections specifically designed to cover Windows XP vulnerabilities and other security problems. We recommend non-AVAST Windows XP users download AVAST for the added protection. avast! 2014 is a light product, both in terms of speed and resource consumption, tailored for older PCs running XP. In addition to this, we recommend users stop using Internet Explorer, as the browser poses an even larger threat when used on Windows XP. The latest version of Internet Explorer for Windows XP is 8, which is outdated and lacks many security improvements available in later versions of the browser. We recommend XP users switch to a safer browser that updates itself, like Google Chrome.

1) Percent of global AVAST users using Windows XP

Related post: AVAST will continue to support Windows XP for home and business users

Thank you for using avast! Antivirus and recommending us to your friends and family. For all the latest news, fun and contest information, please follow us on FacebookTwitter and Google+. Business owners – check out our business products.

 

Categories: General Tags: , ,
March 17th, 2014

Another Data Breach Crisis Looms as Microsoft’s D-Day for XP Forces Security Scramble

win-xp-infographicOpinion by Ondrej Vlcek, Chief Operations Officer at AVAST Software

The termination of security updates by Microsoft to Windows XP will create severe security issues. The already rather unsafe operating system will face even more risks with the missing security updates, but the question is: Should Windows XP users be the only ones worried?

Microsoft recently announced that technical support will no longer be available for Windows XP as of April 8, 2014, ending automatic updates for the operating system. Microsoft will also eventually stop providing anti-malware signature updates to XP users, in 2015. Abandoning Windows XP is a big mistake, especially since Microsoft has not been very successful in transitioning XP users to newer systems. The AVAST database shows that 23.6% of its more than 200 million users is still running Windows XP.

XP users more susceptible to attacks than Windows 7 users

The abandonment by Microsoft will not only affect Windows XP users, but will create a big security problem for the whole ecosystem. Tens of millions of PCs running XP connected to the Internet, unpatched and without security updates, are just waiting to be exploited. The vulnerable OS will be an easy target for hackers and be seen as a gateway to infect other non-XP operating systems. Our telemetry data shows that XP users are 6 times more likely to get attacked than Windows 7 users and once Microsoft stops issuing patches, this can worsen.

The next Target-like attack is brewing

Home users are not the only ones who will be affected by the Windows XP support cutoff, according to reports*, 95% of ATMs in the world still run on Windows XP. These ATMs along with businesses still using Windows XP on their PCs need to be updated, or at the very least seek alternative protection. Medical offices that store confidential patient information and stores that keep customer details, such as credit card numbers, on their computers running Windows XP could easily be attacked. The Target data breach last year was conducted through a trojan that attacked the shops’ point of sales system. If businesses don’t keep their systems safe, we will, unfortunately, see more of data breaches like this. The news of the XP support cutoff was published a year ago, which means that IT professionals should be well aware of the change and the consequences it will have. For those who haven’t taken action yet, the time is now.

AVAST is devoted to protecting the PC ecosystem by not only supporting Windows XP for at least the next three years, but also by creating protection modules and detections specifically designed to cover Windows XP vulnerabilities and other security problems. We have already taken additional steps in our latest product release, avast! 2014, by making the product lighter, both in terms of speed and resource consumption, tailoring it for older machines still running Windows XP. In addition to the security value, avast! 2014 is offered for free, which is especially important for XP users. Upgrading to a newer version of Windows comes with costs, costs that not everyone can afford and is probably a big reason why many users haven’t upgraded yet.

Another reason to ditch Internet Explorer

In addition to Windows XP itself being a security risk, Internet Explorer on Windows XP poses an even larger threat. The latest version of the browser available on Windows XP is version 8, making it outdated and lacking a number of security improvements available in its later versions. Of our existing Windows XP user database, 21.5% run Internet Explorer, leaving themselves open to easy attacks. Google Chrome is a good alternative and is fully compatible with Windows XP, updating itself automatically.

Windows XP users will not be the only ones affected by the end of updates by Microsoft and should not be the only ones worrying about the end date. Users still running Windows XP need to act both proactively and responsibly to ensure safety for not only their own data and PC, but for that of others as well.

Thank you for using avast! Antivirus and recommending us to your friends and family. For all the latest news, fun and contest information, please follow us on FacebookTwitter and Google+. Business owners – check out our business products.

March 12th, 2014

AVAST will continue to support Windows XP for home and business users

800px-Microsoft_Windows_XP_logo_and_wordmark.svgIn “internet years” Microsoft’s Windows XP has been around for eons. It was released in August 2001, and in less than one month, on April 8, 2014, Microsoft will cease to provide support and security updates. The security updates patch vulnerabilities that could be exploited by malware and help to keep users and their data safe. Because of the continued use of XP in homes, businesses, schools, hospitals, and ATMs around the world, this has the potential to create massive security issues.

AVAST will continue to support Windows XP users by creating protection modules and detections to cover vulnerabilities and other security problems for at least the next three years. Our latest version, avast! Free Antivirus 2014, works well with older machines running Windows XP because of its light footprint, speed, and negligible resource consumption, making it a perfect choice even for older machines running Windows XP. AVAST protects more XP users than anyone else. You can get it free now! Download avast! Free Antivirus.

What does this mean for businesses around the world?

The end of Microsoft support means you will no longer get security updates or new support information updates for Windows – for free.  Very large customers will have an option to subscribe to a program called “Custom Support,” an after-retirement support contract, but this is not available for SMBs or individual home users.

In an informal survey of AVAST partners, we learned that many businesses still use Windows XP and have delayed upgrading because of budget limitations as well as software and hardware compatibility issues.

Frank Mayer, an AVAST partner in Greece said that most of his customers are still using Windows XP, but because of the ongoing financial crisis in the country, “I see no change in the near future. In this crisis, no one easily spends money on new PC’s and /or Operating systems.”

“In Romania, most computers in public institutions still use Windows XP, and about 75% of them cannot support an upgrade to Windows 7 or 8 due to hardware limitations,” said Claudiu Chirita of Easy Media SRL. “The same situation is present in the SOHO segment where software upgrades will involve hardware upgrades or replacement.

How many still use Windows XP? What’s the risk? Read more…

September 4th, 2013

96% of US schools facing huge cost of Windows XP upgrades

blog_image_XPIn a recent survey, we found that over 96%[1] of schools in the United States are likely to face a major technology crisis in the new year when Windows XP will no longer be supported by Microsoft. Educational institutions of all sizes around the world are going to have to foot the bill of upgrading not only their operating system but also their hardware.

Schools that don’t upgrade to a new operating system by the April 2014 cut-off could be at risk. The withdrawal of support means that there will be no updates such as security patches, driver refreshes, or bug fixes — all of which are essential for networked personal computers, where protection of children and information is especially important.

At AVAST, we took a closer look at the costs schools will face: The cost of upgrading from Windows XP to a more recent operating system is approximately $200 per computer and it is not likely to stop there. Many schools are also facing the expense of upgrading their hardware as well since hardware older than three years is unlikely to be able to support Windows 7 and beyond. The cost to schools in this situation could run into tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands of dollars.

To help alleviate some of the burden, we created the Free for Education program which provides bullet-proof antivirus protection completely free to schools in the United States. Institutions can save an average of more than $14,000 USD per year by taking advantage of this program.

A great example of how AVAST’s Free for Education has benefited a local school system is the ABC Unified School District in Cerritos, California. With the program, they have saved over $40,000 USD. “With AVAST Free for Education we were able to take some strain off of our budget,” said Joe, Machado, Network Analyst at ABC Schools. “Our savings in licensing alone will be at least $20,000 USD per year. And, our savings in time from cleaning up outbreaks from unprotected or under-protected systems is easily another $20,000 USD per year.”

Since launching in November 2012, the AVAST Free for Education program has protected over 2.8 million computers and servers belonging to over 1,800 education institutions. If you are interested in more information or to participate in the program, please visit: www.avast.com/education

[1] AVAST Software survey amongst 164 educational institutions, July 2013

August 3rd, 2011

Registrations, Launches, Virus Lab Research

The second half of 2011 got off to a great start for AVAST Software (even if it was rough in terms of Prague’s “summer” weather, which been more like an out-of-place autumn). We began the third quarter with a record 165 million user registrations and (not long after launching our avast! Free Antivirus for Mac beta) in July we launched our new business security line. As for what’s next, CNET’s Seth Rosenblatt give a preview of our other upcoming security solutions here.

In other news, research by the AVAST Virus Lab uncovered an alarming trend in Adobe Reader version usage and a surprising percentage of Microsoft XP-based rootkits. Read more…