re: Windows XP Malware: 6X As Bad As Windows 8
We are an SMB solution provider with occasional Enterprise branch office projects. Windows XP (including Server 2003) is used on ~50% of all our customers' machines. A generous 2% for Windows 8 and 2012. Half of the dozen Win8 machines have had one or more malware incidents. We have had most of our malware tickets on the ~25% Windows 7 machines. Of malware on XP much of it was Java exploits, Office macros, Flash, etc that SMBs require for their business software.
Perhaps Microsoft is is pointing out XP because "leaks like a sieve" Windows Defender is not default on XP. Note that this statistic about how bad XP is comes from a time when XP is actively being patched by Microsoft. Hint: if you look at your Windows Update, see the gigabyte of Security Updates for previous Microsoft Updates. Currently have about 30 customers' computers on Windows 2000 and have not had a malware incident for the last 10 years (when Microsoft stopped supporting it; no updates.) MS, et al, assume 3 year upgrade cycle whereas actual is 5-7 years (more due to current economic depression) and many upgraded to XP ~2005. The cost of upgrading is doubled by newer OS hardware requirements (these people aren't gamers, they run point-of-sales and accounting software). This extra cost is further increased by inability of NT 6 codebase OS (and newer IE) to run customers' applications.
Windows XP (and Windows 2000) can continue functioning reliably if good anti-malware software and a satisfactory firewall are included. User training and Email anti-malware is a MUST.