95% Of ATMs Are Still Using Windows XP. No, Really

Who is still using Windows XP, an operating system which is now twelve years old? Other than “everyone’s mom,” the real answer might not be as obvious: the nation’s network of automated teller machines. ATMs all contain computers, of course. Computers are susceptible to malware. Systems running Windows XP may be more susceptible to malware after April 8 of this year, when Microsoft finally ends support and security patches for XP.

Don’t worry: it’s unlikely that the machines will start setting your savings account on fire anytime soon. Yet it boggles the mind to learn that 95% of ATMs in the world run on Windows XP. Still. That number won’t decrease very much after the deadline: one expert told Bloomberg Businessweek that maybe 15% would be upgraded by the deadline.

That’s not as wacky as it sounds: companies can literally buy more time, since they can pay for extended support directly from Microsoft for computers that still run XP. J.P. Morgan Chase chose to do this, and will upgrade their machines to Windows 7 sometime next year.

Some computers will be exempt, since they run a version of the operating system, Windows XP Embedded, that’s less susceptible to viruses and also will still have Microsoft’s support until 2016.

The good news for consumers in all this? Well, maybe not good news for everyone, but upgrading from Windows XP means better support for touchscreen inputs. We might see more sophisticated ATMs–that could be good or bad, depending on your opinion of touchscreens.

ATMs Face Deadline to Upgrade From Windows XP [Businessweek]

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