Why Windows XP cut-off will put retailers at risk

Operating Systems

by Amy-jo Crowley| 12 February 2014

Security firm Websense says it's too expensive to buy a modern version of Windows.

Retailers are set to face an increasing number of data breaches when Microsoft ends support for Windows XP, according to security firm Websense.

Microsoft will no longer provide security patches for XP, which powers the majority of modern cash registers, point-of-sale (POS) devices and ATMs, as of April 8 this year, and many companies are slow on migrating to a new operating system.

Alex Watson, director of security research for Websense, told CBR the event would place companies under increased risk of a successful attack.

"It's going to have major implications for the security industry because so many of business applications including POS terminals, ATMs are all based on Windows XP," he said.

"In many cases, these systems are for older support, so there is no clearly defined business model that would incentivise a manufacturer to go back and update an operating system on what is considered no longer supportive equipment."

He added: "I think a lot of customers don't want to buy a new sales terminal just because Windows XP is no longer available. They may want to but it's expensive.

"It's a cost benefit trade-off where they're faced with either buying all new terminals in a more modern version of Windows ...I'm sure they're concerned about security, but when it comes down to it, in many cases it ends up being crazily expensive to upgrade all of the terminals just for a more secure operating system."

The warning comes not too long after a study by Spiceworks suggested that 76% of IT professionals are still running the operating system 12 year after it was first released.


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