Windows 7 Upgrade Could Open Door to Hackers: Report

Dennis Faas's picture

A new report suggests Microsoft has now pocketed a 6 per cent global market share for its new operating system (OS) Windows 7. That's good news for Microsoft, but it could spell big trouble for users in both the developed and developing world who don't make the upgrade from Windows XP.

In a frightening new report earlier this week, Finland's most prominent security company F-Secure found that the global shift towards Windows 7 could open up a new gap between users of the new, more secure operating system and those stuck with the outdated and soon-to-be unsupported Windows XP.

Shift to Win7 to Create Malware "Ghettos"

F-Secure calls this threat the creation of malicious software "ghettos", occurring mainly in developing countries where there is both the widespread threat of hacking and piracy combined with a lack of technical security support.

In other words, the rich, including many Western users who can afford both Windows 7 and antivirus software, will remain safe. Others, particularly computer users in developing countries, may be in serious trouble in the coming years.

Cybercrooks Look for the Easy Targets

"Cybercriminals will always look for the easy targets," noted F-Secure's Chief Research Officer, Mikko Hypponen. "And that means they'll focus on these developing countries." (Source:

Windows Vista didn't create such trouble because it never led to the phasing out of the still very popular Windows XP. However, Microsoft plans to do just that with the older operating system now that Windows 7 is available, making Windows XP a hacker haven and less affluent computer users targets.

"They don't have the expertise from the users, they don't have the firewalls, and now they'll be running older versions of the operating system with less built-in security," said Hypponen.

Windows 7 Surpasses 6% Global Usage

As for Windows 7, Hypponen had only good things to say about is security. "Windows 7 is really the first operating system they've created since Microsoft began its massive focus on security," he noted.

Those kinds of comments from security, usability, and entertainment experts alike have helped cement Windows 7's place in the OS market in less than two months. According to a recent report for analysts Net Applications, Windows 7 last weekend broke the 6 per cent global usage barrier. (Source:

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