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Thread: Will malware infect one or all installed OS & Programs on a computer?

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    macko1944 is offline Beginner
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    Default Will malware infect one or all installed OS & Programs on a computer?

    I have a desktop with Windows XP, a laptop with Vista Home and a netbook with Windows 7 Home.

    My question is: if my XP were to be infected after stop support in April, WOULD THE SAME PROGRAMS BE ALSO INFECTED ON THE OTHER TWO OPERATING SYSTEMS(computers)?

    Thank you. Please note, I keep all of them up-to-date with patches.

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    HappyAndyK's Avatar
    HappyAndyK is offline Site Administrator
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    If the malware was to target only your operating system, then the other installed OS or its programs may not get infected.

    But if your malware were to target the data files - which is the case these days, then all the data files on your computer could get compromised.

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    Digerati's Avatar
    Digerati is offline Windows Enthusiast
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    We are talking 3 different computers (PC, notebook and netbook) so there is no reason to automatically conclude an infected XP system will infect the other two computers.

    HOWEVER, a primary goal of most malware is to propagate - that is, replicate itself and infect more computers. And they typically try to do that by reaching out to other computers on the same network (because they are often set to share folders, printers, etc.). It should also be noted that much malware targets installed applications like Office products, browsers, Adobe Flash, Java applets.

    After April 8th, there is expected to be an onslaught of malware unleased to exploit vulnerabilities badguys have discovered, but have not reported or exploited yet. They are saving them until the end of support comes. So my advice to all XP owners to ensure no infection is to remove those computers from their networks when end of life support ends.

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    Corrine's Avatar
    Corrine is offline Gold Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by macko1944 View Post
    My question is: if my XP were to be infected after stop support in April, WOULD THE SAME PROGRAMS BE ALSO INFECTED ON THE OTHER TWO OPERATING SYSTEMS(computers)?
    Hi, macko1944.

    As Digerati indicated, it is anticipated that after April 8, Windows XP will be a target for any unfixed vulnerabilities. In the event those vulnerabilities also exist in other operating systems, they will be patched. For a time, although we don't know how long, most antivirus and anti-malware programs will still work on Windows XP, which will be of some help as will keeping third-party programs (Adobe and Java) updated.

    That said, the best recommendation is (again as Digerati said) to take the XP desktop offline. You should also ensure that all important files have been backed up.

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    macko1944 is offline Beginner
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    Thank you so much!I shall keep this in mind and disconnect my XP computer!

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    hackerman1 is offline Moderator
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    Also remember that XP is already more "dangerous" than Vista / W7 / W8 because those newer operating systems has better security, even now when XP is still supported by Microsoft....
    Running XP isnīt a good idea, unless for some reason you really have to do it.

    I recently found XP on a friends laptop, and iīm going to suggest a switch to a Linux-system instead....
    Last edited by hackerman1; 27th December 2013 at 01:53.

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    Digerati's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Corrine
    For a time, although we don't know how long, most antivirus and anti-malware programs will still work on Windows XP
    It should be noted that several of the big players in the anti-malware software industry have already announced support for XP will stop some time after April 8th.

    Symantec/Norton reports:
    After the official End of Support date from Microsoft goes into affect, Symantec Support may not be able to provide full threat resolution on XP systems due to a lack of Microsoft security patches. It has always been Symantec's stance that proper network and workstation security begins at having the most recent security patches from the OS vendor.
    McAfee reports,
    ...if a McAfee product requires Microsoft to provide a fix and Microsoft does not provide the fix, then McAfee cannot support the product any longer.
    It cost money to support multiple operating systems. And anti-malware makers sure don't want to get blamed for failing to protect XP systems. So they too, not just Microsoft, want users to move off the antiquated, 12 year old legacy OS and it will not be long before they all stop providing support for XP.
    Corrine likes this.

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