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XP support over, ATMs at risk

Patna, April 8: Classified data of the treasury and automated teller machines would be vulnerable to security risks from tomorrow.

Several computers of the finance department and ATMs (automated teller machines) running on Windows XP would be exposed to attacks from bugs, virus, spyware, malware and hacking from Wednesday, a day after Microsoft officially ended its technical support to the operating system. According to the market estimates, there are around 1,00,000 ATMs in India and around 2,500 ATMs in Bihar. Most of them run on Windows XP.

The Reserve Bank of India had urged the banks last month to take steps ahead of the end of support for Windows XP as banking operations, including ATMs, were likely to be hit. But most banks are yet to take the corrective measures to secure the ATMs in Patna.

“The software-related works of ATMs are handled by Wipro Technologies and as of now we have not received any communication in this regard. However, most of the new ATMs use latest platforms,” said an employee of a private bank in the city.

A senior manager of State Bank of India told The Telegraph that the central headquarters looks after the software-related works in ATMs and no communication had been issued yet in this regard.

Similar is the situation at the treasury office of the finance department at the secretariat. “Around a month ago, we were asked to upgrade around 160 computers in the finance department to Windows 8 to avoid any threat to the crucial data after the end of support to Windows XP. But the work is yet to start because the work-order has still not been issued,” said an executive of the private firm selected for the upgrade work.

The headquarters of Microsoft in Washington has been urging millions of XP users for the past several months to upgrade either to Windows 7, Windows 8 or Windows 8.1. The software giant has been claiming that though the XP-operated machines would run fine tomorrow (Wednesday) onwards, they would not be secure even with anti-virus software running on the system.

Users in Patna would now have to shell out not less than Rs 10,000 to upgrade their machines with Microsoft having showed the door to Win XP and MS Office 2003. The software vendors in the city have claimed that there had been a surge in the demand of Windows 8 at workplaces, said Amit Kumar, a sales executive of Global Computers on SP Verma Road.


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