Hackers and cybercriminals work in mysterious ways, but even then it is not impossible to chart their paths when it comes to newly discovered zero-day flaws and exploits.

These are usually circulated amongst elite groups, traded for real money, and secretly utilized, before they make their way to the lower levels of the black hat world. With the recent retirement of Windows XP, there was little doubt that the old OS would become the preferred target of cybercriminals.

It now appears that Windows XP users are now already being assaulted from multiple directions.

There are some 300 million installations of the operating platform that reached end of support last week, and hackers are said to be using various tricks to dupe users into downloading fake software updates, malicious software and even fake drivers.

As this report over at The Telegraph notes, users are now being targeted via YouTube links and Facebook posts inviting them to download these false update.

Additionally, popular security software vendor Malwarebytes warns that fake applications that promise Windows XP users to download and install the latest drivers for their computers are doing the rounds. YourFileDownloader is the name of one such program that holds users for ransom until they pay.

Sidestepping these dangers is easy.

Just stay away from Windows XP themed downloads and offers, only download and install software that you are sure of, and make sure you have a solid antivirus application running.

Oh, and always have a safe and watertight firewall installed too.

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  • Ray C

    I guess the idea that nothing was going to happen has been proven wrong now

    • Fahad Ali

      Yeah, I am more interested in with this escalates! Hopefully not, but the signs point otherwise. Hundreds of millions of computers at risk, there is only so much a security solution can do.

      IE 6 and Windows XP is a lethal combination from here on.

      • Ray C

        All this people who have spent a year and half convincing people they should never upgrade from XP to 8 have really put us all at risk.

  • John Howe

    Funny how quickly that occurred. I figured this type of stuff would happen relatively quickly after security was stopped. Turns out I was right.

  • WillyThePooh

    It’s logical. XP has huge users and no one maintain it. If I was a hacker, I would pick this target as well.