Although Microsoft has ended support for its age-old but still viable OS – Windows XP, thousands of websites continue its use for hosting purposes, opening themselves to hackers. Yes, it’s not just users who have refused to transition the old OS to modern OS with better security features, but thousands of websites too that still show an unreasonable fondness towards the now unsupported OS.
It’s doubtful whether Windows XP would be disappearing from web servers around the world anytime soon. Netcraft, a company based in Bath, England providing internet security services (including anti-fraud and anti-phishing services, application testing, code reviews, and automated penetration testing) highlights distribution of Windows XP-powered websites (logarithmic scale) following the ‘lack of the support’ announcement.
Netcraft, which conducted a survey of the operating systems that run web servers every month outlines the results of the survey for April 2014 indicate that 6,000 websites still use Windows XP on their servers, and about a third of them are located in the U.S. The survey claims that 14 of those servers host government-based sites, including the webmail system for the government of Utah. Netcraft’s April 2014 survey also found 50,000 websites which are hosted on even older Windows NT4 servers running Microsoft IIS 4.0.
“Unsupported web-facing Windows XP servers are likely to become prime targets for hackers, particularly if any new Windows XP vulnerabilities are discovered, as no security updates will be available to fix them,” Netcraft mentions boldly in the research.
Netcraft has a tool called “What’s that site running? The tool that can be found on the site’s homepage is capable of yielding a detailed technical breakdown.