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Government systems to become hack-prone after Microsoft ends support to Windows XP

Washington, Mon, 17 Mar 2014 ANI

Washington, Mar. 17 (ANI): After Microsoft ends its support to the good old and much beloved Windows XP on April 8th, government systems running the archaic OS would become reportedly more vulnerable to hack attacks.

Despite federal officials being aware of the 'end-of-life' for Windows XP for more than six years, the deadline for installing secure operating systems on federal government computers will pass next month with the job incomplete.

According to Washington Post, an estimated 10 percent of government computers, out of several million, would still be running the operating system on that date.

US officials have said that the vulnerable systems would include thousands of computers on classified military and diplomatic networks.

Security experts have warned that hackers have been preparing for what the 'end-of-life' for Windows XP by stockpiling 'vulnerabilities' that amount to skeleton keys that can give intruders remote access.

A former Department of Homeland Security chief information officer, Richard Spires, said that once XP goes out of support and is no longer patched, it just raises the vulnerability significantly on the whole Windows platform in an organization if they haven't moved off XP.

Meanwhile, some federal officials have said that they asked Microsoft to extend its deadline for ending support for Windows XP, but the software maker declined and instead offered , for new fees, "custom support agreements" that give protection that likely will fall short of what the company long has provided to most XP users for free.

However, some agencies have declined to contract for custom support agreements because they deemed them an unnecessary expense.

The report said that the need to update computer operating systems has come at a time of major new investment in cybersecurity, including the creation of the new military US Cyber Command. (ANI)

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