Posted by Virus Bulletin on Oct 21, 2013
Is Google making the Internet more or less secure by extending support for Chrome on XP?
A software vendor's decision to release updates to its product is generally seen as a good thing, but the decision by Google to continue to support the Chrome browser for Windows XP beyond the operating system's end-of-life has been somewhat controversial.
Security experts are anxiously looking ahead to April 2014 when Microsoft will stop releasing updates for its popular Windows XP operating system. More than 12 years after its release, the operating system is still widely used, thus the impact of a "perpetual zero-day", as is has been called, could be significant.
Of course, it is still possible that many XP users will be convinced to move to a newer operating system - and it is also possible that many XP users don't download updates in the first place. To them, the lack of availability of updates won't make them more vulnerable than they already are - though that is hardly a reassuring thought.
In the meantime, Google has announced that it will continue to support the XP version of its Chrome browser for at least a year beyond the end-of-life of the operating system.
One could argue that this is a good thing: after all, it will remove one infection vector for XP machines. It may also be the best Google can do in a situation in which - for various good or bad reasons - people won't stop using XP.
But one could also argue that this will only encourage people to continue to use XP. It has even been suggested that this is a rather unfair way of Google taking on its big rival Microsoft, perhaps even as a sneaky way to push its own operating system.
What do you think? Is Google making the Internet more secure by extending support for its own product? Or is it giving stubborn users of XP what may seem like a good reason to continue using the operating system?
Let us know what you think by voting in the poll in the right-hand sidebar of the VB website.
Posted on 21 October 2013 by Martijn Grooten