Evolution of Security Threats headerMatt Gunn, Managing Editor | TechComply

To this point, Microsoft has been pretty clear in communicating that the time of Windows XP as a viable operating system is fast coming to an end. And if that’s not enough, the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council reinforced the idea with its October statement urging banks and credit unions to reassess the risks of the soon-obsolete operating system before its end of life in April, 2014. ┬áJust in case you’d like a visual reminder of what those risks might be, we’ve got an infograph from Microsoft to help out.

Frankly, the digital world not the same place it was back in 2001, when Windows XP first rolled out. Back then a paltry 50 million people were connecting to the Internet. Today that number stands somewhere in the vicinity of 2.7 billion. The threats were a little less, well, threatening back then. Where early hackers were committing acts of online vandalism or basic denial of service for the sake of notoriety, today specifically target personal financial information and large corporations, and are much more coordinated and well equipped. As a result, Windows XP is 21 times more likely to be infected by malware than Windows 8, according to Microsoft’s data.

The chart below woks both as a fun exercise in time travel as well as an eye-opening examination of just what’s at stake. Hat tip to Microsoft’s Technet blog for the graphic: