The Ghana Interbank Payment and Settlement Systems (GhIPSS) is urging banks that operate on Microsoft operating system to upgrade their Automated Teller Machines (ATM) before the April 8 deadline.
Inside every ATM casing is a computer, and like all such devices, each one runs on an Operating System and Microsoft?s 12 year old windows XP dominates the ATM market, powering more than 95 per cent of the world?s ATM machines.
Banks and ATM service providers are therefore in a race against time to upgrade their ATMs before they become hot targets for hackers.
On April 8, 2014, a deadline looms for all ATMs running on windows XP to upgrade to Windows 7. That is the day Microsoft (MSFT) cuts off technical support for Windows XP. This means that Microsoft (MSFT) will no longer issue security updates to patch holes in Windows XP, leaving those ATMs exposed to a new kind of cyber attacks.
A security update (or patch) is a piece of software designed to fix problems with a computer program or its supporting data. This includes fixing security vulnerabilities and others by improving the usability of performance of the overall system. Security updates help make the ATM less vulnerable to attacks.
In a statement, GhIPSS said Widows 7 Operating System became available in October, 2009 and therefore banks had no excuse but to update their system to avoid exposing their customers to hackers.
The statement noted that the Advanced ATM fleets operating systems could be updated remotely over their network while older ATMs must be upgraded one by one. It noted further that some other ATMs might either have their components upgraded or discarded altogether if they did not have enough computing power (memory) to run the newer OS, windows 7.
GhIPSS cautioned that banks and ATM service providers who ignored the deadline would continue to function but would become more vulnerable to attacks.
There is a lot of pressure especially from China on Microsoft to continue to provide support for XP beyond April 8, 2014, but the pressure has not really yielded any practical results. However Microsoft will continue to release patches that will protect computers running on XP for malware until July 2015 but only for Microsoft security essentials. Users will need to have downloaded Microsoft security essentials before April 8 if they require access, the statement added.
Bank and ATM service providers in Ghana will therefore have to ensure that they comply ahead of the date. Some of the providers have begun and are even pairing the operating system upgrade with the upgrade to support EMV.
Source Graphic Business