Microsoft Extends Malware Assassin Program to XP Users until Mid-2015

Microsoft Extends Malware Assassin ProgramThose who are still running their PC’s in Windows XP may have to contend with the fact that the operating system’s expiry date would pursue on April 8. But there could be another ray of good news. Microsoft Corp has confirmed that it would extend provision of its malware scrubbing program to remaining XP users until July 14, 2015. That would be more than a year after the company ceases releasing patches for the 13-year-old OS.

In a statement, the giant software firm announced that it would continue releasing Malicious Software Removal Tool (MSRT) until July 2015. The tool is aligned with Microsoft’s anti-malware signatures and engines. To date, MSRT is updated on a monthly basis as a way for Microsoft to target specific malware that it thinks could be potential threats.

It is distributed through the Windows Update service along with the Windows Server Update Service on ‘Patch Tuesday.’ The company ships security patches along with other fixes to XP users every month. As such, the MSRT leads to automatic installation and running of the see-and-destroy program.

About MSRT

There is another clarification. XP users should be reminded that MSRT is not actually an antivirus. Instead, it is a cleanup utility program that is designed to eliminate malware that may have already wormed into Windows PCs. It was initially released in 2005. It could also be manually downloaded from the official Website of Microsoft.

The MSRT availability extension is part of the company’s decision to offer new batches of anti-malware signatures for XP users, especially those who are using the free Security Essentials Antivirus software of Microsoft. The firm originally set to stop shipping signature updates for Security Essentials after April 8. But it decided to take an extension after considering the volume of XP users who are still sticking with the old OS.

Still widely used

Despite persistent reminders that XP would take a vow on April 8, it is interesting how many users still decide to continue using it. According to data from online metrics firm Net Applications, users of XP accounted for 29% of all Windows users in December 2013. Many analysts estimate that up to 25% of Windows users would remain with XP by the end of April.

Microsoft, however, remains firm on its decision to keep the timetable for XP’s demise. But according to some sources, XP users could opt to keep their OS after the expiration. They just warned that doing so would be too risky.

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About the author

Drew is a regular contributor covering trending topics.