95 percent of U.S. ATMs run on Windows XP
A man uses an ATM at a Bank of America branch.
April 8 is the last day that Microsoft will offer technical support for its 12 year-old operating system, Windows XP. Much of that support means fixing bugs. So after that date, any computer running XP will be considerably more vulnerable to cyber-attacks.
Who is still using Microsoft XP? Probably your aunt, your grandparents and probably your parents.
20 percent of computers worldwide use XP. It’s the second most popular operating system behind Windows 7.
Your kid almost definitely uses it. A recent study by AVAST found that 96 percent of schools still use XP.
Your uncle who works at Hill Air Force Base probably uses it. 10 percent of Federal government computers, including some classified military networks, still use XP.
You use it all the time: 95 percent of all U.S. ATMs still run on XP.
Every week, Microsoft employees look for vulnerabilities in their software. When they find them, they create what’s called a patch to fix it. After April 8, Microsoft will stop offering patches for XP.
“Therefore, anybody running an XP system could fall prey to someone who is trying to exercise one of those vulnerabilities,” says Eugene Spafford, executive director of The Center for Education and Research in Information Assurance and Security at Purdue University. He says XP users had more than six years to prepare for the end, but not everyone has been proactive.
ATMs that haven’t been updated could be hacked in a number of ways. They could be programmed to spit out cash, keep cards or any other “mischief,” says Spafford.
Several major banks including JPMorgan have agreed to pay Microsoft for extended customer service on the outdated software. The good news is that customers will likely not be absorbing those costs, says Doug Johnson of American Bankers Association.
“I don’t see any pricing power in terms of trying to very directly pass off these costs to the consumer at the ATM."