Panda Security to support Windows XP beyond shelf life

Afterlife anti-malware protection

XP laptop

Anti-malware firm Panda Security plans to continue to support Windows XP past Microsoft's official end-of-life date in April, a move that will reassure some who are unable or unwilling to upgrade.

Windows XP, Microsoft's second most popular OS version after Windows 7, has been running for twelve and a half years, and is still widely used by people throughout the world. Microsoft is ending support for it on April 8, however, signalling the end of an era.

With no support from Microsoft, XP will generally be considered a security threat, as no bugs or exploits identified after the deadline will be fixed. Many software companies usually follow suit by focusing on newer versions, but Panda Security promises to still develop its anti-malware software for the large XP user base. The move follows similar announcements by web browser developers Google, Mozilla and Opera.

Beyond the grave

"It is very important for us to keep our commitments to our customers," said Manuel Santamaría, Global Product Manager at Panda Security. "Nearly 50 percent of the two million computers currently protected with Panda Cloud Office Protection have Windows XP installed, so for our customers it is extremely important that we continue supporting this operating system, particularly after their systems lose product support on April 8, leaving them vulnerable."

Panda will support Windows XP SP1 until September 2015, but it has not set a cut-off date for Windows XP SP2.

Despite the promise for ongoing support, Panda acknowledged that PC users who continue with XP after Microsoft's deadline will be more vulnerable than ever to security risks. The sitting duck of XP will become an even more attractive target for hackers.

Microsoft will offer extended support to large businesses at a price, and that price will keep growing as the years go by. Upgrading to a newer OS is arguably the best option available, despite the headache of legacy issues.