There are plenty of speculators who think those malware and virus baddies will jump on unsupported PC’s and cause havoc. So what should you do? The obvious is to update to Windows 7 (it is still available in some online shops) or Windows 8, or perhaps even Linux.
If that’s a non starter, then the first thing to do is stop using IE, it’s been out of date for a long time, so switch (if you haven’t already) to either Chrome, who have assured support through to April 2015, or Firefox, who have no plans to stop support. Once that is done, look at your anti-virus package, is it up to date?
Microsoft Security Essentials will support Windows XP until July 14, 2015, so that’s something, but the top 30 AV suppliers have all said they will do the same, some even longer.
Many of Microsoft’s own packages that tend to used on Windows XP are woefully out of date as it is, if you’re using Outlook or Office (2003 or older) then look into moving to something else like Mozilla Thunderbird or GMail for email or LibreOffice for, well, Office!
Other things you can do to try and minimise the danger are; remove Java,there are so few things that rely on it that it’s just not needed, also try getting rid of Adobe’s Flash & PDF viewer, again so few sites use Flash and if you use Firefox or Chrome, they have built in PDF viewers and there are some good free ones that work well too, Sumatra PDF, Foxit Reader, for example.
The last thing to say is, and it should be the most obvious, when you’re browsing and a popup says ‘Your XP install is infected’ or some such drivel, don’t click it!