Security expert warns against ‘dangers of monoculture’

Bitdefender: ‘There should never be another Windows XP’

Security specialist Bitdefender has told PCR that there should never be another operating system like Windows XP.

Discussing the upcoming end of life for the long-lived Microsoft OS, chief security strategist Catalin Cosoi said: “We will continue supporting XP machines until at least 2016.”

He went on to say that despite prophets of doom predicting an epidemic of malware attacks, it will be possible to keep the operating system protected following the end of support by using software that continues to support updates for XP.

“In conjunction with proper security policies and practices and provided the rest of the computing environment is sane and secure, yes [it will be possible to keep XP machines safe].”

“From a security point of view we believe that the risks are by now well understood. XP is a very well characterised system and there is vast know-how available on how to keep it safe, for all its inherent flaws.”

However, Cosoi added: “The sooner companies migrate, the better.”

Asked whether Windows 7 was likely to recreate the longevity and ubiquity of Windows XP, as many observers have suggested, Cosoi said that he’d rather no operating system copy XP’s success, for the sake of reducing security risks.

“Windows 7 adoption has been growing much slower than XP adoption was back in the day,” he explained.

“From a security perspective, we’d prefer that there never be a ‘new XP’ – the dangers of monoculture are well known and have been amply demonstrated in the heyday of XP.”

“In fact, we sometimes wish [Microsoft] had been a bit more aggressive with the end of life date – there are some e-threats which are still relevant solely because there is a significant population of XP systems.”

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