If you’re a user of Windows 7 or Windows XP, it’s important you take care when surfing the Internet, opening email attachments, and downloading anything. You may even want to consider a password reset for the major applications and services you use. That’s because a new Microsoft report reveals that the number of malware infections facing users of these popular operating systems is rapidly rising.
Microsoft announced its findings in its Microsoft Security Intelligence Report, which is essentially a summary of all the major security flaws and infections associated with Microsoft products seen thus far in 2012.
The report notes that the number of infections faced by Windows 7 users has increased substantially. The number varies depending on the OS edition in question (32-bit versus 64-bit), but what’s clear is that the chances of acquiring a nasty malware bug online have jumped considerably from 2011.
People who continue to use Windows XP machines are also facing a growing number of threats, Microsoft notes in the report. By comparison, Windows Vista users are facing fewer threats than before.
So, what’s the deal? It’s really quite simple. Windows 7 users are facing more threats because the operating system is used by more people than any other OS. As more people use the software ((not the hardware, so don’t call the HP support number), more attacks follow.
Windows XP, meanwhile, remains extremely popular but will in the near future lose technical troubleshooting support from Microsoft. That makes infecting these systems easier and potentially more lucrative for hackers.
As for Windows Vista, it’s never been particularly popular, prompting malware engineers to ignore it more and more as time goes on.
Microsoft also suggests that new, less tech-savvy (and less cautious) users are now moving to Windows 7 and that this is leading to a spike in malware infections.
It’s important everyone take extra care when opening emails from unknown senders and when visiting “sketchy” looking websites. If something feels off, get out of there!