During the leadup to April 2014, Microsoft urged the public to throw away their old Windows XP PCs and adopt newer operating systems like Windows 7 and Windows 8.
On April 8, 2014, Microsoft pulled the plug on Windows XP and gave the aging OS its last security patch.
Microsoft called this day the “death day” of its fabled operating system. Starting on that day, hackers and malware authors were expected to descend upon the OS and exploit zero-day exploits left, right, and center.
Except…that didn’t really happen.
At least, it doesn’t appear to have happened. Instead, no known major exploits for Windows XP have surfaced over the past three months. Not a single one.
Of course, that doesn’t necessarily mean that no Windows XP exploits have been discovered.
If a hacker finds a Windows XP exploit, he can either keep that exploit to himself and continue taking advantage of it for his own personal gain. Or, he can share that exploit with the internet and potentially expose it to patching and anti-exploit software.
A simple analogy
Let’s say you’re wandering through town and you stumble across a beer factory. You see a hole in a window that leads directly to the cold storage room. You can climb through the hole at any time and instantly access free cold beer.
You can take as much beer as you need. The beer factory, like Microsoft, is no longer investing in security, and you don’t expect that hole to be fixed anytime soon.
Now, would you tell other people about the hole in the window? Or would you continue exploiting it to get the beer you need without ever telling anyone.
The answer seems obvious.
In other words, there could be massive exploits which haven’t been discovered by security experts yet, or there could be no exploits at all. We just don’t know.
At this point, it appears relatively safe to continue using Windows XP. However, I still recommend upgrading to a modern operating system like Windows 7 – Windows 8 is still dealing with its fair share of problems.