95% of ATMS use outdated Windows XP: Is a crisis looming?

Posted Jan 20, 2014 by Tucker Cummings
Microsoft has announced that the company will not provide support for the long-lived Windows XP operating system after April 8. Considering the fact that XP is still so widely used, are businesses and ATMs at risk of a security crisis?
A banking customer uses an ATM at a Wells Fargo Bank branch in Oakland  California.
A banking customer uses an ATM at a Wells Fargo Bank branch in Oakland, California.
Justin Sullivan, Getty/AFP/File
According to a recent report from BloombergBusinessweek, 95 percent of ATMs around the world still run on Windows XP. With 420,000 ATMs located across the United States, the pressure is on for banks and businesses to upgrade their operating systems.
After April 8, Microsoft will no longer provide software updates or security patches. There is also a risk that hardware and software compatibility issues will arise after Microsoft ends support for XP.
Some insiders are concerned that there is no way all ATMs can be upgraded to a new OS before Microsoft pulls support for XP. On Microsoft's website, the company notes that "Based on historical customer deployment data, the average enterprise deployment can take 18 to 32 months from business case through full deployment."
Windows XP first debuted back in August of 2001. Despite the advanced age of this operating system, XP remains popular with many businesses. In fact, XP is the second most popular OS running on desktops today, after Windows 7.
“A lot of ATMs [running XP] will have to either have their components upgraded or be discarded altogether and sold into the aftermarket—or just junked,” explains Suzanne Cluckey, the editor of ATM Marketplace.