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As Microsoft ends support for XP, financial firms look to Linux, Windows XP for ATMs

March 24
8:09 AM 2014

Microsoft will be pulling the plug for Windows XP on April 8, prompting financial firms and ATM operators to look for a replacement to power their ATMs which have been using the outdated operating system. While the move does not come as a surprise, it is evidence of the enduring use of the XP and the kind of conservative attitude that exists in financial circles, TechCrunch reported.

Embedded systems and ATMs have relied on the operating system for most of the past ten years. In his article for ComputerWorld, Jaikumar Vijayan wrote, "Windows XP currently powers nearly 95% of ATMs around the world. When Microsoft pulls the plug on support for the operating system on April 8, ATM operators who have not upgraded will essentially be running their systems on an obsolete operating system with no technical support from Microsoft." He added that in the US, an estimated 60% of the over 400,000 machines will still continue to run on XP after the support is removed.

New operating systems for ATMs, however, must comply with the standards set by the Payment Card Industry Security Standards Council or PCISSC. In addition, it may be necessary to update the hardware of today's ATMs so that they can be upgraded to newer operating systems like Windows 7. Because Linux is open source software and can be used on legacy hardware, it's the more credible option. But it may be more necessary to update most POS terminals and ATM as "PIN and chip" style cards will begin to be used in the US, the report said.

The old machines of financial companies may still have a lifespan of a few more months or years even after Microsoft pulls out the support for XP. Despite requests to keep the operating system running, there seems to be no doubt that these are the final days of the XP, the report said.

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