Nigerian ATMs Still Running on Windows XP: What happens Now That Support Has Ended?

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By Segun Oniyide

Most Nigerian ATMs still running on Windows XP days before support endsWhen ATMs were introduced more than 40 years ago, they were considered advanced technology. Today, it’s not so anymore.

Presently any ATM still running the software will no longer receive regular security patches and won’t be in compliance with industry standards. Most machines that get upgraded will shift to Windows 7, an operating system that became available in October 2009.

For ATMs using a stripped-down version of XP known as Windows XP Embedded, which is less susceptible to viruses, inside every ATM casing is a computer, and like all such devices, each one runs on an operating system (OS). Microsoft’s 12-year-old Windows XP dominates the ATM market, powering more than 95 percent of the world’s machines.

Many ATMs will have to either have their components upgraded or be discarded altogether and sold into the aftermarket because some ATM Machines can’t be upgraded into either windows 7 or windows 8 as the case may be. But it is certain that one of the problems that will come up from not upgrading will be ATM fraud as fraudsters are so used to the old operating system which has been in existence for over three decades.

And in order to guarantee absolute security for people’s money and the effectiveness of cashless policy which has just been implemented in some parts of the country it is therefore advisable that all ATMs be upgraded.

For now, however, some more good news is that even though conventional XP ceases to be supported that does not mean that, necessarily, fresh vulnerabilities that criminals can exploit suddenly appear. The immediate impact will not be noticeable mainly because there will be no significant change to the environment. The essence of the Microsoft announcement is for the future, there will not be further application of Microsoft fixes or security patches to the XP operating system.

But in the longer term and with the application of no more Microsoft security patches on the XP operating system, the financial institutions who do not upgrade may be exposed to more fraud risks and they may not be able to add new features or functions to their existing ATMs.

Security Is The Most Obvious And Talked About Advantage To Upgrading To Windows 7, But There Are Other Factors That Should Influence A Financial Institution’s Decision Related To Cost And User Experience. Windows 7 Is Faster And Easier To Support, Helping Reduce Maintenance Costs. Whichever Direction Financial Institutions Choose To Go, The Ultimate Goal Should Be To Improve Their Customer’s Experience On Their Machines And Ensure Safety Of Assets And Cash.

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