Windows 7 in 2012: Increased Popularity As Well As Malware Infection

According to Microsoft, from June 2011 to June 2012, Windows 7’s usage share grew 45% and it outnumbered the aged Windows XP and the new Windows 8. And also, malware infection rate in Windows 7 climbed by as much as 182% in 2012, said in Microsoft Security Intelligence Report. The case seems difficult to understand. Since Windows XP has been widely used and Microsoft released its milestone system, Windows 8, which is equipped with many new features and fresh functions, how can Windows 7 keep increasing popularity in spite of soaring malware(virus , Trojan horse, rootkits, keyloggers, etc.) infection?

To answer the question, we firstly take Windows 8 password as an example. In Windows 7, when users forget login password, they may have to recover Windows 7 password by some tools; In Windows 8, users just need to change to log in another methods, such as, picture password. However, the new password features in Windows 8 is said to be a big security flaw and vulnerable to hackers. Windows 8 is still not a trust-worthy system. As for the decreased market share of Windows XP, it is not groundless. Because even with the dramatic increase of malware affection in 2012, Windows 7 remained two to three times less likely to fall to hacker attacks than Windows XP.

“Windows 7 has really been the first platform adopted by both enterprises and consumers, and that kind of adoption hasn’t happened in quite some time for Microsoft”, said Andrew Storms, director of security operations at nCircle Security. “Given the market movements, it’s likely that the attackers follow.”

Windows 7 is undoubtedly the most popular operation systems nowadays. On the other hand, the malware infection situation is indeed a big worry to many users, no matter which version of Windows 7 it is. Windows 7 SP1 was less likely to be infected than RTM, and the x86 editions of Windows 7 RTM and SP1 came with higher infection rates than the x64 versions. Windows 7 SP1 x64 had the lowest, 3.1, while Windows 7 RTM x86 had the highest rate, 5.3.

As reported by Microsoft, there are several factors to be blamed for the boost in successful malware attacks, “This may be caused in part by increasing acceptance and usage of the newest consumer version of Windows”. The report also states that “Early adopters are often technology enthusiasts who have a higher level of technical expertise than the mainstream computing population”. New users, especially those without advanced computer skills, are supposed to have a lower degree of security awareness to protect their Windows 7 from malware than early adopters. Another reason lies in the improvement of hacking skills after hackers have made researches for Windows 7 for a long time.

There isn’t any operation system that can totally prevent malware. The point that matters is not only the system itself, but also how users use their PCs. Windows 7 is surely a relatively safe system, but don’t ignore the Windows 7 security measures in daily usage.

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