More often than not I'll be writing about the security problems facing Windows XP users, such as when I recently reported how a large number of enterprises are still running XP SP2 machines which will shortly stop being supported by Microsoft in terms of security updates, hotfixes and the like. So imagine my surprise, at the same time that Microsoft reminds us that it's the end of the line for Windows XP netbooks, to finally get hold of a story about Windows XP being good for security.

OK, so the report from the Webroot Threat Blog is a pretty damn specific one, relating just to a single Trojan downloader executable, but it's a Windows XP good security news story nonetheless.

It would seem that researchers at the security labs have caught the first Trojan, a variant of the Tacticlol downloader, which simply refuses to execute under Windows XP. A new spam campaign was distributing the Trojan and it executed as expected under both Windows Vista and Windows 7, but repeated tests on both virtual and real machines, with various levels of patching, have determined that the thing just will not run in an XP environment.

So there you have it, Windows XP users are safe from a Trojan downloader which kick-starts what Webroot describes as a "devastating malware infection" while users of the more secure Windows versions are vulnerable.

The really interesting thing for me is the notion that this could signal that the bad guys are giving up on Windows XP, at least as a platform for malware executables.

About the Author

As Editorial Director and Managing Analyst with IT Security Thing I am putting more than two decades of consulting experience into providing opinionated insight regarding the security threat landscape for IT security professionals. As an Editorial Fellow with Dennis Publishing, I bring more than two decades of writing experience across the technology industry into publications such as Alphr, IT Pro and (in good old fashioned print) PC Pro. I also write for SC Magazine UK and Infosecurity, as well as The Times and Sunday Times newspapers. Along the way I have been honoured with a Technology Journalist of the Year award, and three Information Security Journalist of the Year awards. Most humbling, though, was the Enigma Award for 'lifetime contribution to IT security journalism' bestowed on me in 2011.

XP rocks man!

Upgrading to the latest OS may not be a good thing. Better stick to something tried and tested.

this is until Windows hackers are able to port Aero over to XP anyways, unless the trojan downloader actually does a windows version check and won't run regardless :)

perhapse I can say I CALLED IT!
(virus developers are playing Microsoft's game)
^ I have no remourse for these guys falling for MS's trap XDD (unless they favor XP like me)

in recent news, I don't think I mentioned on these forums, I CAN'T take control of MS's RAT...
posting a dialog warning them the OS isn't as safe as they think, get me jailed for it even though it's meant to help people. ;_;
(I'll be breaking into people's private networks and therefore am liable to be charged)
^ this happened to the black hatters as reported by one of my friends

so that sucks and blows >_<