Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Windows XP retirement puts ATMs at risk


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As we mentioned in an earlier post, Microsoft will be discontinuing the support of Windows XP on 8th April. Windows XP has been one of the most popular operating systems ever created and its endgame is certainly going to impact more than just individual users. According to Gartner’s experts, around 10-15% of XP-using businesses will fail to migrate to a different operating system, but this is not the most worrying news.

ATMs at risk as XP is set to retire

This may come as a shocker, but over 2 million (95% of all) ATMs in the world are running on Windows XP and they will become easy targets for hackers and viruses once the support for XP has to come to its end.
To make matters worse, only about 1/3 of these ATMs are ready for an upgrade and preparing the remaining 2/3 would cost about £60 million.

However, we must also point out that ATMs are equipped with sophisticated, customised additional security. Therefore it is unlikely that they’d just “start shooting out money into the streets or things like that,” said James Lyne, Director of Technology Strategy at Sophos.

They knew the day would come

Microsoft already announced its plans to stop issuing security fixes for Windows XP in 2007. So it really shouldn’t have struck any bank as a surprise, yet quite a few failed to take action. Banking giants like RBS, Santander UK, Lloyds or HSBC have decided to sign up for three years of custom support, before migrating their ATM operations to Windows 7.

According to James Lyne, these changes have been hanging around for so long, so banks really should have thought about addressing them a long time ago. 

About the Author:       
Sarah writes for Firebrand Training on a number of IT related topics. This includes exams, training, certification trends, project management, certification, careers advice and the industry itself. Sarah has 11 years of experience in the IT industry.