EMET EOL

Despite saying "EMET has serious limits," Microsoft announced yesterday plans to extend EMET support past the original EOL (End Of Life) date on January 27, 2017 to July 31, 2018.

In spite of the positive news, Microsoft still advises customers to update to Windows 10, the latest version of its famous OS, which has already incorporated most of EMET's features, and provides the stability that EMET never provided when installed as a separate tool on older Windows versions.

EMET helped improve Windows security when it needed it the most

EMET, which stands for Enhanced Mitigation Experience Toolkit, launched in 2009 as a standalone application that users could install and bolster the defenses of their Windows operating systems.

Microsoft said it developed EMET because, at the time, it released major OS versions only once every four years, a cycle which allowed malware and exploit kit operators to deploy threats that took advantage of zero-days and vulnerabilities before Microsoft had a chance to issue updates in the form of Service Packs.

In time, Microsoft moved towards an OS-as-a-Service approach, which shortened the time between major OS releases and allowed the company to deliver security updates at a faster pace.

Most EMET features are now embedded in Windows 10

EMET served its initial purpose of providing basic malware mitigation techniques that could be enhanced with new protection methods just by updating the EMET app instead of the whole OS.

This model, while helpful in the beginning, became a problem when Microsoft started to release more OS versions, such as 7, 8, 8.1, and 10.

EMET wasn't a native service. The app worked by hooking into low-level OS features, and seriously hindered performance and reliability as Microsoft released new OS versions.

EMET become useless starting with the release of Windows 10. By that time, Microsoft had learned from EMET's usefulness and decided to embed most of its features into Windows 10 itself.

Once innovative EMET features such as ASLR (Address Space Layout Randomization), DEP (Data Execution Prevention), CFG (Control Flow Guard), and more, are now part of standard Windows 10 installations.

EMET is still needed

Despite the release of Windows 10, EMET received an update to versions 5.5 in February 2016, as a last hoorah.

Microsoft's decision to extend EMET support comes as a direct consequence to the small numbers of users who updated to the company's latest OS.

With quite a large number of users still relying on older Windows versions, it's probably a good idea to keep EMET around, even if there are quite a lot of EMET bypassing techniques floating around.

Windows Vista end of extended support is scheduled for April 11, 2017, while Windows 7 end of extended support is scheduled for  January 14, 2020.  End of mainstream support for Windows 8 is scheduled for January 9, 2018.

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