ANTI-MALWARE FIRM Malwarebytes launched its first paid-for update to its security software product today, Anti-Malware Premium, which offers Windows XP users security protection "for life", just before Microsoft cuts off support for its customers on 8 April.
Malwarebytes said that it will continue to provide Windows XP support in its new security tool, which is designed to protect PCs against advanced criminal software that traditional antivirus software cannot. The move is designed to help the XP users that Microsoft will leave behind, which Malwarebytes claimed makes up 20 percent of its user base.
The offer could come in handy for local councils, more than half of which are still running XP on some machines, according to new findings out today.
Speaking exclusively with The INQUIRER, Malwarebytes founder and CEO Marcin Klecynski said it was "an obvious decision" for the firm to serve Windows XP users that Microsoft will soon no longer support and it will continue to do so for as long as Microsoft makes it possible.
"There's a tonne of [Windows] XP users still out there and many of them can't migrate or are unwilling to migrate," said Klecynski. "This is actually a perfect opportunity for Malwarebytes to swoop in when Microsoft ends support and stops patching and releasing updates, [as] people are going to rely on Malwarebytes more and more."
"Microsoft is not doing a great thing for its users here and we're going to try to capitalise on that by helping them out and supporting them."
The new product, which took 18 months to build, brings together five powerful technologies in a lightweight 16MB download for the first time, the combination of which provides dynamic protection from advanced threats. At its core is a new heuristics engine designed to detect and neutralise malicious software based on behavior. This means its protection does not rely on slow-moving signatures, providing defence against zero-day attacks.
Malwarebytes Anti-Malware Premium also integrates new anti-rootkit technology that rips out and fixes the damage done by malicious software hiding at extremely deep levels in the operating system. Malwarebytes' Chameleon is also built-in, allowing Anti-Malware Premium to brute force startup and scan when malware is crippling traditional security software and other processes.
Anti-Malware Premium has added updated malicious URL blocking and enhanced protection from unwanted programs such as aggressive adware and toolbars. A new user interface and a very fast threat scanning process ensure that the product is easy to use.
The Anti-Malware Premium service is available on the Malwarebytes store and costs £23.74 per year. Each licence provides coverage for up to three PCs.
Microsoft plans to retire Windows XP from patch support on 8 April. However, late last year it emerged in a Spiceworks report that almost 80 percent of IT professionals are still running Windows XP on at least one system, raising security concerns as Microsoft counts down to the end of extended support for the obsolescent PC operating system (OS).
In a report entitled "Getting Over Your [Windows] XP", Spiceworks revealed that 76 percent of IT professionals haven't upgraded all of their systems from Windows XP to a later version of Windows yet, and nearly half admitted that they will leave the 2002 Windows XP OS on at least one system past its end of support that is due next month.
Microsoft warned organisations to upgrade their systems in April 2012 when it announced the two-year countdown to the end of support for Windows XP and Microsoft Office 2003, saying that "the technology environment has shifted" and that those leaving the migration to the last minute might find it difficult to accomplish in time.
In April, software specialist 1E marked the one-year countdown to the end of Windows XP support by reporting that less than a quarter of UK companies had completed the migration of their PC estate to a newer version of Windows, with 40 percent still "in the process of upgrading".
Those that don't upgrade can expect to be faced with the threat of increasing security concerns, as Windows XP continues to be one of the PC operating systems most targeted by malware attacks. µ