The April 8 deadline for all users of Microsoft Corp’s Windows XP is fast approaching. By that time, the old operating system would cease to be supported with patches and fixes, making it more vulnerable to hacking and security attacks.
Interestingly, Windows XP still has a wide user base in the US and around the world. Many users opt to keep the operating system for quite some time after April 8 until they finally realize the urgent need to update to a newer OS. This is understandable because switching to another system would be costly and it may entail more adjustments.
Majority of ATMs in the US
Aside from personal and corporate computers, automated teller machines would also be most affected by the expiration of the operating system. According to the experts, Windows XP currently powers up to 95% of ATMS around the world.
Data from the ATM industry Association estimates that just about 38% of around 425,000 ATMS across the US that are presently running on Windows XP are expected to have migrated to a newer OS by April 8. That means that more than 250,000 ATMs would keep the OS and be subjected to security risks. The number translates to six out of 10 ATMs.
Woes about migrating to a new OS
The Payment Card Industry Security Standards Council (PCI SSC) recommends specific compensating controls to make each ATM machines still PCI compliant despite keeping Windows XP. PCI SSC oversees security standards within the payment industry in the country.
According to analysts, most ATM operators are aware of this deadline. Some of them have already upgraded their machines to Windows 7. But still, a majority is yet to make the move due to high costs and greater effort and time required to complete the updating process. Thus, convincing all ATM operators to shift to a newer OS has always been a challenge.
Several financial companies and institutions have already updated to Windows 7 long before the deadline. They could attest that doing so was a great cost for them. The process is also considered tedious because aside from physical access to each machine, there would be a need for an hour-long adjustment in the hardware. Some users may also require hardware upgrades, which would further make the process a costly one.