MICROSOFT cuts technical support to ATMs running on Windows XP

Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) of commercial banks still running on Windows XP stand the risk of being exposed to a new kind of cyber attacks. This is because today, 08 April, 2014 marks the deadline set by MICROSOFT to cut off technical support for Windows XP to all such institutions.
MICROSOFT had therefore urged the banks to upgrade their systems to WINDOWS 7 to avert such occurrence.
The Chief Executive of the Ghana Interbank Payment and Settlement Systems, Archie Hesse explained to Joy Business Banks and ATM service providers need to upgrade their ATM’s before they become hot targets for hackers.
“What is happening is that from today Microsoft will no longer be issuing any security updates. What that means is that, if there are any new bugs in the system, Microsoft will not be issuing any reffixes for it. And it will increasingly expose your ATMs. So there’s an urgent need for all banks to have a plan to migrate from the current operating system XP to Windows 7,” he said.
“There’s nothing really that customers can do. The vulnerability is not to the customers but to the bank’s ATM, they will be exposed. The onus lies on the banks and ATM service providers to ensure they have actually migrated to a safer operating system which is Windows 7,” he added.
Inside every ATM casing is a computer and like all such devices, each one run on an Operating System and Microsoft’s 12 year old windows XP dominate the ATM market, powering more than 95% of the world’s ATM machines.
The Advanced ATM fleets operating systems can be updated remotely over their network whilst older ATMs must be upgraded one by one. It noted further that some older ATMs might either have their components upgraded or discarded altogether if they do not have enough computing power (memory) to run the newer OS, windows 7.
There is a lot of pressure especially from China on Microsoft to continue to provide support for XP beyond 8th April, 2014 but the pressure has not really yielded any practical results. However Microsoft will continue to release patches that will protect computers running on XP for malware until July 2015 but only for Microsoft security essentials. Users will need to have down loaded Microsoft security essentials before April 8 if they require access, the statement added.
Bank and ATM service providers in Ghana will therefore have to ensure that they comply ahead of the date. Some of the providers have begun and are even pairing the operating system upgrade with the upgrade to support EMV.

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