The clock is ticking for the final days of Windows XP. However, some 300 million computers that manage electric, water and sewage treatment plants as well as ATMs will still use the soon ? to ? be terminated operating system. All of these computers will become unprotected from security threats after April 8, according to Microsoft.
Staying with XP
Cybersecurity firm Qualys Inc. reported that more than 10 percent of computers being used in corporations and governments worldwide are still running on the 12 ? year ? old operating system, despite public warning from Microsoft. Researcher NetApplications also reported that nearly 30 percent of consumer desktop computers are still using Windows XP. The tech giant has been warning everyone of the changes. The company even has a countdown clock on its official website.
As the deadline approaches, IT administrators of the U.S government are being urged to upgrade.
Unique Version Supported Until 2016
Windows XP is still being used in 95 percent of the 211, 000 ATMs run by financial institutions. However, some of those machines are using a unique version that Microsoft will still support until 2016. Independent companies like gas stations have 210, 000 machines. Executives from large financial institutions are now taking measures to mitigate the issue.
Companies are having difficulty in upgrading their operating systems because of its complexity. This is most applicable to some older ATMs that need physical visits in order to be upgraded. Hackers are known for taking advantage of vulnerable software to create damage. The Stuxnet virus reported in 2010 chose the Windows XP as one of its victims. Kaspersky Lab principal security researcher Roel Schouwenberg said that the virus destroyed the centrifuges in nuclear ? enrichment facilities in Iran.
Microsoft introduced Windows XP in 2001. The operating system was a tempting target since it remains to be widely used, as well as its vulnerability to cyber attacks. Spokesman Tom Murphy explained that its security issues were one of the reasons why the tech giant is ending its life this month. Most patches that Microsoft will create for Windows 7 and 8 would still apply to XP starting in May. This is because the systems have a similar code.