We use cookies to provide you with a better experience. If you continue to use this site, we'll assume you're happy with this. Alternatively, click here to find out how to manage these cookies

hide cookie message
80,259 News Articles

74% of all rootkit infections originate on XP PCs

Just under half of Avast customers run the aging OS

Nearly three quarters (74 percent) of all rootkit infections originate on a PC running Windows XP, says Avast.

Research by the security firm's Virus Lab revealed that almost half (49 percent) of Avast antirvirus users run the aging operating system, while 38 percent plump for Microsoft's latest iteration of the platform, Windows 7, and the remaining 13 percent use Windows Vista. However, just 12 percent of all rootkit infections originate from Windows 7 machines, and the remainder from PCs running Vista.

"One issue with Windows XP is the high number of pirated versions, especially as users are often unable to properly update them because the software can't be validated by the Microsoft update," said Przemyslaw Gmerek, Avast's lead researcher.

"Because of the way they attack – and stay concealed – deep in the operation system, rootkits are a perfect weapon for stealing private data."

Gmerek said more recent operating systems like Windows 7 are more resilient to rootkits but warned users not to get complacent as they are not immune to infection.

Nearly two thirds (62 percent) of all rootkit infections were targeting the Master Boot Record (MBR) while 27 percent were driver infections.

Gmerek advised web users to keep antivirus software installed and updated on their machines, regardless of which operating system them use. Furthermore, if they suspect there's an issue, they should scan their computers a rootkit removal tool.

IDG UK Sites

How to get a free EE Power Bar: Mobile and broadband customers eligible for free smartphone charger

IDG UK Sites

Why Netflix won't terminate your account for using a VPN, probably

IDG UK Sites

Forever 21 denies pirating Adobe, Autodesk and Corel software, accuses companies of 'bullying'

IDG UK Sites

New Apple TV 2015 release date rumours: Apple's WWDC invite shows Apple TV