As of April 8 Microsoft (MSFT) will officially end support for Windows XP. The tech giant will no longer provide security updates or technical assistance for the 12-year-old operating system and holdouts are being encouraged to migrate to Windows 8.1.
Upgrading a personal computer to a modern operating system may be relatively pain-free, but will the process go as smoothly for 95% of the world's ATM machines that currently run on the XP platform? Furthermore, does Microsoft's decision mean ATMs are more vulnerable to hacking?
Consumers do not have to hide their money under a bed mattress, says Yahoo Finance tech reporter Aaron Pressman. Banks already have security features in place to protect the money in ATMs, he argues, and Windows XP was never the most secure operating system in the first place. Some big banks like J.P. Morgan (JPM) have paid Microsoft for an extra year of technical support as they switch to newer operating systems.
A spokesperson for Bank of America (BAC) told The Daily Ticker that the bank is well "into the process of moving to the latest operating system for our ATMs...and there is no impact to customers or clients by this transition. Our systems remain secure and will not be affected."
Banks with ATMs running XP will "need to get off of it eventually, but it's not an emergency situation," Avivah Litan, an analyst at research firm Gartner, told Bloomberg. "I really don't think anything is going to happen anyway."
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