ATMs at risk

Our speaker on Tuesday mentioned an interesting fact that most ATMs in the world rely on outdated operating systems. I found this fact interesting and researched it further. It turns out that 95 percent of the world’s ATMs run on Windows XP, a 12-year old operating system. This fact has been in the news recently because Microsoft will stop supporting Windows XP in a matter of days on April 8. The very reason that Microsoft is no longer supporting XP causes concern for ATM users: “XP no longer meets the needs of modern computing and doesn’t have the cyber-security safeguards in place to protect against the current generation of threats.” Banks have had plenty of time to switch over to newer technologies because Microsoft announced the April 8 date back in 2007. While some banks, like JP Morgan Chase, have purchased service extensions, others will let their ATM technology go unserviced. This fact puts banks and their customers at risk for cyber attacks that are becoming more and more sophisticated every day. The average consumer has no way of telling if they are using an unserviced ATM. Customers around the world will be nervous to use an ATM, but few people in developed countries will stop using them. We know that our banks and governmental regulatory agencies insure our money if hackers steal it. But people in developing nations, where there is often little trust in the financial sector or government will be even less likely to trust technology that is meant to make their lives easier. If hackers do steal money from people who use ATMs, there may not be any ways to get that money back. Unserviced ATMs are a vulnerability that hit developing countries especially hard.

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3 responses to “ATMs at risk

  • abernst2

    This fact also caught my curiosity in class the other day. The idea that this lack of updating ATMs hit developing countries even harder is an extremely important issue because of their seeming lack of cyber security in addition to many cases of government corruption. What I do not understand about this situation is why banks aren’t taking measures to update their ATMs. It seems to me that though it may be an investment, it is a necessary one in this day in age where people are becoming more and more careful of their public technological use. According to both of our speakers form last week, we are living during a time where everything is controlled by technology, making us all vulnerable to cyber security breaches. It puzzles me why banks are not taking such measures to protect their clients, thus making their accounts and privacy less vulnerable in addition to maintaining necessary trust of paying customers.

  • skagan2016

    When doing your research did you find out any information about why ATMs haven’t been switched over? Do you think it’s more of a concern about the amount of money it costs to switch the operating systems or is it simply out of lack of awareness/laziness? Also if this is a large issue, do you think it would make sense for there to have to be regulations for banks to update the software for ATMs every few years, or would this be unfeasible and too expensive?

  • Jillian Waller

    If 95% of the world’s ATMs run on Windows XP, I have to wonder what the other 5% are running on. Or what is the reason behind the other 5% running a different software? I’d be interested to see if there is any kind of policy on ATM software because if so, when one changed over they’d all have to. Luckily in the United States we have the FDIC to secure our money in banks, but many developing countries have no equivalent agency

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