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Many ATMs Are Still Running Windows XP

It's bad enough that 30 percent of the PCs in the world still run Windows XP and risk running an unprotected OS after April 8. Even more alarming is that many of those machines are ATMs at banks and other locations.

Does that mean ATMs will become vulnerable to malware or data theft once the deadline expires? As Bloomberg BusinessWeek reported yesterday, it depends. Those that run Windows XP Embedded have a little more time as Microsoft will continue to support that version until early 2016. But those with Windows XP will be susceptible to malware and other attacks, said Dean Stewart, an executive at ATM supplier Diebold.

"It's a very real risk," Stewart told the publication. "No ATM operator wants to get his name in the paper."

Only 15 percent of ATMs will be running Windows 7 by the April 8 deadline, added Aravinda Korala, CEO of specialty software supplier KAL.

Those willing to pay up can receive extended support. JP Morgan Chase is doing this for its thousands of ATMs, according to the report. The extended support could jump fivefold in the second year, according to Korala. Depending on the age of the ATM, it could require new hardware components that cost a few hundred dollars or, for older machines, several thousand dollars.

That some of the leading banks' ATMs are still running some form of Windows XP is not a surprise. Everywhere I go I see Windows XP machines: at the gym, my own Bank of America branch and numerous retail establishments. I hear many classrooms and computer labs also still have Windows XP-based PCs.

More concerning is that some will feel emboldened to wait to upgrade thanks to this week's news that Microsoft will extend antimalware support until January 14, 2015. However, Microsoft warned that the extended support doesn't mean that's a good reason to wait longer to upgrade your Windows XP systems, which will remain vulnerable to other attacks after April 8.

If you still have or support Windows XP systems, what are your plans in light of the April 8 deadline? Drop me a line at jschwartz@1105media.com.

Posted by Jeffrey Schwartz on 01/17/2014 at 1:25 PM


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