Desktop operating system browsing statistics:
- Windows 7 – 55.92%
- Windows XP – 18.93%
- Windows 8/8.1 – 15.22%
- OS X -7.11%
- Windows Vista – 2.44%
- Linux -1.34%
- Other -0.51%
Desktop OS market share as of December 2014 according to Net Applications
So a fifth all computers still use Windows XP which hasn’t been patched since spring 2014 , obviously if possible it would be best to move on but some people can’t or don’t want to. After 15 years you would imagine most possible vulnerabilities have been patched and the fact that no doomsday exploit seems to have been unleashed since support ended might bear this up. The user may ask how can I make my system as safe as possible and here are my recommendations.
Obviously antivirus is a must as always, the best at the moment in my opinion and free is Avast free, a fully comprehensive suite, doesn’t “nag” you too much, includes an outdated critical software application updater. I would back this up with an on demand malware scanner, either Super antispyware or Malware bytes.. Both are very powerful as they can remove malware that antivirus often can’t if the worst should happen and why not have both and run one through once a week or so? I’m hoping you would have a fully patched XP SP3 regardless and I would be inclined to use either Firefox or chrome as your browser as both are very secure. Your antivirus should install a safe search browser function, hopefully blocking web pages that include Malware.
The only other browser plug in, i would use is Rapport from IBM , it’s free to download and good for blocking phishing , man in the middle hijacking and it works particularly well with Banking sites as it encrypts data transactions on the sites that you want to protect , it’s quite a hefty programme but probably on balance worth it . And concluding with a firewall , windows has a built in one but it’s hard to gauge it’s effectiveness , I mean has anybody ever had a message saying it’s blocked anything at all ? I would install Comodo firewall just to be on the safe side , it doesn’t bother you endlessly and provides a bit of extra reassurance .And lastly a bit of common-sense in browsing habits by not delving into spurious download sites or clicking on links in emails etc.
With all the options as above I’m confident that you would be able to safely use XP in the short term but in a future blog I shall be advising on benefits of moving on to Linux OS.