Windows XP to be Discontinued on ATM Machines Across the Country

Feb 18, 2014

The information that Windows XP is to be discontinued in April of this year has very recently been made public. Microsoft has made the decision to stop the support for the operating system, which has been around since 2001. Therefore, this results in the ISOs who run and operate the ATMs facing many dilemmas indeed. If they fail to upgrade the machines to the newer Windows 7, they may be setting themselves up for the risk of fraud. The question is – are ISOS really willing to face these risks?

Most of the 420,000 ATMs in the United States use the operating system that is Windows XP – undoubtedly, a significant amount. According to the ATM Industry Association, when April rolls around, Windows XP support services will no longer be available. This includes security updates, free or paid assisted support options, and online technical content updates. The association stated, “Continuing to operate on the Windows XP platform after the end of the support life cycle exposes financial institutions and independent ATM deployers to security, operational, and compliance risks.” ATM operators who do not update their machines to Windows 7 will not only have safe safety risks but will also be jeopardizing their compliance certification status.

Statistics show that 95% of the nation’s ATMs run on Windows XP, all of them with a very short notice period in which to update their machines to Windows 7. However, a small number of ATMs run on Windows XP Embedded (XPe), which is Microsoft’s “stripped down” version of XP. Despite not quite matching up to what XP can do, ATM operators who use XPe are at an advantage; Microsoft is continuing tech support until early 2016, giving them much more time to upgrade to Windows 7 and not on such short notice, unlike ATMs with regular Windows XP.

One of the primary reasons behind Microsoft’s decision to upgrade ATMs is that there have been over 700 vulnerabilities found in the Windows XP operating system since its launch. The system continues to be a target for fraudsters and is predicted to be even more so after tech support is discontinued. Although it is argued that ISOs have not been given much notice to upgrade their systems, it has also been said that Microsoft announced its decision at the end of 2012 and that the ATM industry had “plenty of warning on the matter”. Whatever the case, one thing is for sure – the sooner the ISOs upgrade their systems to Windows 7, the better.

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