27 August 2014

Fewer than 1% of European ATMs upgraded to Windows 7

08 April 2014  |  5798 views  |  3 atm

On the day that Microsoft ends tech support for the Windows XP operating system, research from RBR suggests that hardly any European ATMs have been upgraded to Windows 7.

From today Microsoft will stop rolling out security updates and patches for XP, leaving machines running the 12-year-old operating system more vulnerable to attack.

Yet 89% of ATMs in Europe were still running the OS at the end of 2013 with just 4150 machines - 0.7% of the total - upgraded to Windows 7. Most countries covered in the report - 23 of 33 - have no Windows 7 ATMs at all.

Around 20,000 machines - mostly in the UK and Spain - actually run IBM's OS/2, for which standard support ended in 2006.

The process of upgrading to an alternative such as Windows 7 is both complicated and expensive for ATM operators and many have instead chosen to pay Microsoft for extended XP tech support.

The RBR says that ATMs have a limited and relatively stable software set-up, making locking down the operating system a more practical option than for PCs.

Meanwhile, operators can use techniques such as whitelisting, sandboxing and encryption, along with more conventional technology like firewalls and anti-malware software to mitigate risks. However, it is not clear whether these measures comply with PCI requirements.

Separate research from the US National ATM Council suggests that the vast majority of ATMs operated by non-bank providers at retail locations do not use XP.

Comments: (3)

Adam Nybäck - Anyro - Stockholm | 08 April, 2014, 10:14

Running XP on an ATM isn't necessarily a problem since the users don't have access to email and web browsers to get tricked into downloading malicious software. As long as the machines have properly configured firewalls and aren't running any unnecessary services they should be safe enough.

Andrew Smith - CloudZync - London | 08 April, 2014, 11:12

Is this a surprise to anyone? Banks have been awful at embracing technology and moving with the times. Just spend 5 minutes on this website and we see so many stories confirming this. This is just another one....

Ketharaman Swaminathan - GTM360 Marketing Solutions - Pune | 09 April, 2014, 16:00

Despite not embracing the latest shining technology, banks spend more on IT than any other industry, as the balance sheet of many IT services companies would attest. Despite spending so much on IT, financial services is the most profitable sector in FORTUNE 500. Banks must be aware of some secret sauce of how to extract the maximum value from technology. As an aside, why's nobody talking about Windows Vista, which came in between XP and 7?

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