As is custom for Microsoft, they have released a pre-release version of Security Essentials, the company's free product to help stave off computer malware attacks. Up until now the pre-releases have supported Windows XP, but with a little under two months to go before support for the 13 year old operating system ends, Security Essentials support has now dropped off the list.
Windows XP users who still want the malware engine to install can grab a stable build from the Microsoft Download Center while it's still available: Microsoft Security Essentials
After Windows XP support expires on April 8, 2014, Microsoft will continue to provide signature updates for Security Essentials for a limited time, but the full application will no longer be available to download and install. So, if your company intends to continue using Windows XP after the drop-dead date, you might want to consider downloading it now and storing the bits somewhere.
The OS is only part of the problem
Many companies may think that keeping antivirus and antimalware files up-to-date is enough to secure the old operating system, but that's not the case. Once April 8, 2014 hits, Microsoft will stop providing security updates for Windows XP. But, that's only part of the problem, and having antivirus running is not enough, either.
When Microsoft stops supporting Windows XP, there's no good reason why any other vendors will support it, either. From hardware to software, once Windows XP falls off the flat Earth, very few vendors will be left that will offer more support than just requiring you to upgrade.
We've seen recently that the OS does not even garner a significant chunk of computer security concerns. No, it's the applications that run on top of the OS that cause the most problems. So, while you may think you're covered through keeping antivirus files current and firewall security modifications, one single application like Adobe's Flash could punch a whole directly in your defenses.