Which is to say that no large scale attacks are expected on the retired operating system anytime soon. But does that make Windows XP safe, overall? No, sir, the platform is still vulnerable.

As vulnerable as it was upon retirement, earlier this year.

Microsoft is no longer supporting, what is still the second most popular desktop operating system in the world, meaning hackers and cybercriminals can easily break into an unpatched system running Windows XP, using any of the security gaps.

However, security experts from antivirus testing firm AV-TEST believe that as long as the user is running a third-party protection that is fully updated, he or she is fine — relatively speaking.

This is what they had to say in a recently published report:

“None of the manufacturers surveyed anticipate a massive attack on Windows XP. There is concern, however, that individual vulnerabilities in XP will be selectively exploited due to missing updates.

All the vendors are in agreement in one area: Anyone running Windows XP should remember to constantly update installed utility software such as Java or Flash. What’s more, XP PCs should not be used to constantly surf the Web or serve as an e-mail platform. Most of the malware finds its way into a Windows system via these pathways.”

So while the risk of individual users getting hacked is omnipresent, a massive attack against Windows XP wholesale is out of the picture for now. The key is keeping the platform secure with the necessary tools.

In other words, updated and supported software, and a line of defense of a reliable antivirus solution, a malware scanner, probably, and equally importantly, a firewall.

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  • Bill Franklin

    For the time being, XP is safe from massive attacks, but I wouldn’t count on it long-term. At some point soon, XP users need to upgrade for their own good.

  • WillyThePooh

    When the market share of XP getting lower and lower, hackers will lose interest actively hacking this OS.

    • Jason Claven

      Agreed. I think this is the point here. Less users= less interest from hackers.