It certainly makes a shock headline. A recent survey by Microsoft has revealed that Windows Vista and Windows 7 operating systems run a greater risk of infection by malware than the obsolete Windows XP.
In its biannual Security Intelligence Report (SIR), Microsoft published figures for the final quarter of 2013 which reveal infection rates of 2.42 per cent for XP computers, 3.24 per cent for Vista and 2.59 per cent for Windows 7.
The company confirmed that the data had been ‘normalised’ to allow for the different numbers of computers running each operating system. Meanwhile Window 8 devices reportedly showed a 1.73 per cent infection rate and Windows 8.1, which is the latest version, came in a just 0.08 per cent.
Are operating systems becoming less secure?
Well, in a word ‘No’! Industry experts have been quick to comment on these figures and the erroneous conclusions that may be drawn from them. One commentator concluded that newer versions of Windows could be putting themselves at greater risk of infection simply by accessing the internet more.
Speaking to the Telegraph, Graham Cluley commented: “We’re hopeful that the number of Windows XP computers is rapidly diminishing, and that fewer and fewer of them are being used to regularly access the internet. If you think about it, if you have an old creaky computer still running Windows XP and a Windows 7 computer – which one are you more likely to be using regularly?”
Cluley was also quick to point out that the figures in Microsoft’s report relate to a time period when there were still security updates available for Windows XP – something which stopped last month.
The latest release of security fixes, which took place on 13th May 2014 – a day commonly referred to as Patch Tuesday – no longer included updates to Microsoft’s recently retired system, leaving Windows XP far more prone to vulnerabilities in the future.