Can a New Anti-Malware Solution Protect Windows XP Users?
Microsoft has been working hard to get Windows XP users to upgrade to Windows 8.1. Now, one anti-malware company is giving them a new reason not to. Malwarebytes just rolled out a solution that promises to protect XP users from the bad guys.
Available now, Malwarebytes Anti-Malware Premium is a tool that aims to protect home-based PCs against the dangerous software that criminals are using to hack into computers. The company is promising to catch even advanced cyber ploys that traditional antivirus programs miss.
“We are committing to XP support for as long as is technically possible because we feel it is important people using the OS are protected,” Marcin Kleczynski, founder and CEO of Malwarebytes, told us. He noted that XP users make up 20 percent of its user base. “There is nothing new with software reaching the end of its commercial life, but the risk with XP is directly proportional to the amount of people thought to still be relying on it as their main OS.”
Microsoft’s XP Stance
Redmond is reporting that the chance malware will infect your Windows XP-based PC after April 8 could rise by two-thirds. A Microsoft Security Intelligence Report that provides threat intelligence and analysis of cyber threats in more than 100 countries and regions worldwide highlights the risk of unsupported software.
During the first half of 2013, currently supported versions of Windows desktop operating systems -- Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7 and Windows 8 -- all had roughly similar malware encounter rates of between 12 percent and 20 percent. But, Microsoft reports, Windows XP systems had an infection rate that was six times higher than Windows 8.
“Microsoft Windows XP was released almost 12 years ago, which is an eternity in technology terms,” said Tim Rains, director of Trustworthy Computing at Microsoft. “While we are proud of Windows XP’s success in serving the needs of so many people for more than a decade, inevitably there is a tipping point where dated software and hardware can no longer defend against modern day threats and increasingly sophisticated cybercriminals.”
But Malwarebytes is confident. The company said its Anti-Malware Premium tool brings together five technologies in a 16MB download. Part of the secret sauce is a heuristics engine that works to detect and kill malicious software based on behavior rather than slow-moving signatures.
The solution also offers Anti-Rootkit technology, which Kleczynski says rips out and fixes the damage done by malicious software hiding at an extremely deep-level in the operating system. Also built in is a technology called Chameleon that allows the technology to brute force start-up and scan when malware is crippling traditional security software and other processes. There’s even a malicious URL blocker.
“When support for XP comes to an end, people will be easier to exploit,” Kleczynski says. “Becoming infected could lead to anything from having your personal details compromised, to being infected with adware and other unwanted programs.”
Malwarebytes Anti-Malware Premium is available from the company's online store for an annual subscription of $24.95. It provides coverage for up to three PCs.