Your ATM Is Probably Running Windows XP, Should You Trust It? - HotHardware
Your ATM Is Probably Running Windows XP, Should You Trust It?

Your ATM Is Probably Running Windows XP, Should You Trust It?

After so much waiting, it's almost hard to believe that the day of XP's death is upon us. At this point, if you're still running Windows XP, you're either incredibly loyal to the OS, or don't surf the Internet too much. Given the fact that this April 8th date has been known about since 2009, it's truly amazing that it's still so widely used. Net Applications' most recent reports pits XP use at 30%. That's 30% of all Web surfers, across all OSes.

Even more incredible might be the fact that the OS is used on over 80% of the world's ATMs. This is a subject we've covered time and time again. And again. But the fact of the matter is, if Windows XP is dead, as far as Microsoft's concerned, that poses some serious risks. After all, despite the fact that the OS' death date was chosen five years ago, it's still been receiving patches for critical updates.


Credit: Gordon Joly - Flickr

So what's that mean for ATMs? Can they even be trusted, when running an outdated, unsupported OS? At the moment, the answer is simple: There's not a great risk. Because some companies in the enterprise have clearly been lazy in getting around to updating their ATMs, Microsoft's offering companies that still need support another year's worth - but it's going to cost them, and handsomely.

I read the other day on Microsoft's site (for the life of me, I can't find it again), that one bank has just transitioned 30,000 of its ATMs to a newer version of Windows (I believe 7), so it's clear that there's going to be a lot of movement over the next couple of months with other banks following-suit. Still, I consider it appalling that banks have waited quite so long, because even with extended support contracts, it's not going to stop someone from unleashing an unreleased exploit now that they know Microsoft is wiping its hands clean of the OS.

In truth, it's hard at this point to predict the future. What's not hard to figure out though is that Windows XP is outdated, and the reason Microsoft has ceased support is because of that. A 12-year-old piece of software, especially an OS, can be deemed ancient. And in many ways, XP truly is.

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that ATM needs a bath along with the new OS lol

I rarely ever take out money anymore... just use my Debit card :) easy

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Same for me. I think about that sometimes when I see people asking for donations for some cause at a store. I just think, "Who carries cash with them anymore?".

Maybe there's big market potential for card scanner rentals, haha.

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Yea I very rarely carry cash anymore.

Im not sure the computers running these atms have the hardware to run a newer os. They will probably need to run something lightweight and hardened like a linux os.

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Almost all XP based ATMs can run W7 embedded, which is a super-stripped down version of W7 (kind of like a core install for Server 2012). Only "need" 900mhz single core chip with 512mb ram and 1gb storage (yes, only 1gb), but you can easily strip out most of the extras and be perfectly "responsive" (in ATM standards) with less than half the processor and memory.

And considering most linux distros use openssl, they hardly "hardened"

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Just about ever enterprise level security appliance out there is based on or runs on some form of linux. CentOS is a pretty popular one that underpins quite a lot of stuff.

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Yeah like Static, I dont take out money anymore, just debit. Saves time too and allows you to be a little more lazy, who wants to get out of the car anymore ;)

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