According to some sources, 420,000 automated teller machines (ATMs), or roughly 75% of them, still use XP, and since the hardware they're built on dates back to the era when dinosaurs roamed the earth (or so it seems), even upgrading them to a more modern generation of Windows isn't even an option. It also seems as if the banks that own these machines either don't understand Linux or don't appreciate that using Linux in clients is just as secure as when it is used in servers, so at least some of them have signed on to special "XP maintenance contracts" that Redmond apparently offers. I guess this means we can look forward to many more Target-like "horror stories" about hackers persuading ATMs to disgorge endless waves of twenty-dollar bills over sidewalks everywhere, what fun!
As far as I know, ATMs use 'WinXP Embedded' and this version is supported by Microsoft until 2016. Thus, there should be enough time to upgrade the systems. Furthermore, I think, ATMs have no internet connections because the finance institutes have their own network. At least here in Germany this should be the case.
Separate networks for financial transactions JUST FOR THE PURPOSE OF SECURITY? Sounds like a reasonable approach in a country like Germany which values the "technically correct" way of doing things. But here in the US you've got to remember the financial industry is run by super-cost-conscious "technophobes" who have allowed us to get probably something like 15 years behind in such basic security technologies as chip-and-PIN credit cards (which are still almost unheard of here). And there was something reported about banks paying for XP support and I'm NOT really sure which version of XP the ATMs commonly use, but it surely was whatever they could get their hands on the cheapest at the time. No there won't be any money spent to "improve ATM security" until articles about ATM hacking start showing up in the papers here regularly...we're pretty much doomed to that future already it seems!
Thanks, Olaf, for clarifying. I'm not so worried about ATM's at the moment but all the XP systems that are still running in critical applications like the power grid and the military. Granted, there are some apps that don't run in W8 nor W7, maybe not even Vista (which is supported to 2017) but for the rest, what's the excuse? It's not like it happened overnight, there was a two year warning prior to the April 8 close.
Throughout the 90s, I was an advocate of OS/2 - an operating system that looked like a Windows-for-Workgroups 3.11 on steroids in its 1.1 revision (ca. 1990) and then later in its Warp series, a different thing altogether. In the 90s, many if not most ATMs used OS/2 Warp 2 or Warp 3. In the early 'aughts, IBM quietly discontinued the use of OS/2 and ATMs have been running XP or some variant ever since.
I don't see why such a smooth transition couldn't take place once again. I think the ATM argument is moot and pointless.
If it an't broke why fix it. I work on machines built in the 1920s. They really knew how to engineer back then. Granted these instruments fade in and out of popularity. Factory support ended 50 years ago. Still they work and continue to entertain.
As I said before, I need special drivers which run custom real time protocols. Or dev tools which work only on Window$ because there are "Only 5 people in the world who use macs." and the vendor is too cheap to hire designers like myself who could port the software over.
It does not help that Apple removed Quicktime and MIDI support from Mavericks probably due to DRM issues. Now you have to "Render" MIDI through the audio engine. Of course no one complaines about apple, becouse well, they are perfect and make cool stuff that looks good.
Micro$oft is heading in this same direction. Closed hardware drivers and a machine that can only run the social networking app of the week. with lots of pretty colors and pentaphonic sound. It is the old television network "we know better than you, buy our soap because it is made with coal tar waste product and good for you." attitude.
If I had something like 40,000 man years to script and compile programs, such could probably be done with Linux. Effectively porting working windows95 real time code inside a kernel extension.
Thank you for hitting the nail on the head. XP Embedded support doesn't end until 1-JAN-2017. The effects are far wider sweeping than this makes them out to be due to the fact that things like built in SAN management workstations or even the underlying OSes can be XP embedded. EMC Mid range and I believe a few other people use XP embedded for some releases of the underlying OSes in their SANs.
In terms of there being issues with legacy OSes at the enterprise level, yes they will happen. A lot of the security risk is averted due to these systems being isolated because they are critical infrastructure, the same thing that makes them somewhat immutable and difficult to migrate off of as well.
While I realize your comment was made in jest, I wholeheartedly agree with the concept behind it. Sometimes (Many times) I believe engineering efforts & the results are done solely for the exercise of engineering, and NOT for the betterment of the consuming public.
Believe it or not, but we have an MS-DOS PC at home (actually have a couple working units) which we use for one application. Many years ago, there was a program called MANAGING YOUR MONEY by Andrew Tobias. It's a GREAT program for managing home finances, even includes a lot of "advanced" features for folks who have a considerable investment portfolio. And, it includes links to I-R-S schedules, making the annual reporting process far easier. Obviously, this program is no longer supported AND the I-R-S features are out-of-date, BUT the basic GENERAL LEDGER-like format is invaluable in good record-keeping. Makes January a pleasure to live through. Finally, the ULTIMATE greatness of this program is that since it is MS-DOS, there's NO worry about viruses, malware, hacking of personal data, passwords, etc.
It's a real shame that under Balmer, MICROSOFT was not able to take a very introspective look at their main product, WINDOW XP, itemize its deficiences, & build on it as a solid, bullet-proof product. When they published VISTA, it didn't take but a few weeks for the consuming public to pan it to oblivion. One would have concluded that with VISTA being a debacle, they SHOULD have reverted to the core code of XP, and tightened it up, since it became THE MOST POPULAR operating system in history. But, NO!, they ambled aimlessly down a uncharted path. I guess we can only hope that the new CEO of MICROSOFT sees the errors in their ways, and efforts some significant corrective action. There's too many installations to ignore!!!