Saturday, March 22, 2014

95% of ATMs could face hacking threat from Apr.8

ஏப்ரல் 8க்கு பிறகு ஏ.டி.எம்.,கள் முடங்கும் அபாயம்

பதிவு செய்த நாள்: 22 மார். 2014 01:10

சென்னை: மைக்ரோசாப்ட் நிறுவனம், "விண்டோஸ் எக்ஸ் பி' இயக்கத் தொகுப்புக்கு அளித்து வரும், பாதுகாப்பு மென்பொருள் சேவைகளை, ஏப்ரல் 8ம் தேதியுடன் நிறுத்த உள்ளது. இதனால், இந்த இயக்கத் தொகுப்பில் இயங்கும், பெரும்பாலான ஏ.டி.எம்.,கள், வைரஸ் எதிர்ப்பு மென்பொருள் கிடைக்காமல், முடங்கும் அபாயம் ஏற்பட்டுள்ளது. மைக்ரோ சாப்ட் நிறுவனம், "விண்டோஸ் எக்ஸ் பி' க்கான வைரஸ் எதிர்ப்பு உள்ளிட்ட, பாதுகாப்பு மென்பொருள் சேவைகளை நிறுத்த உள்ளது, குறித்து, கடந்த 2007ம் ஆண்டே அறிவித்தது. 

இத்தொகுப்பை பயன்படுத்துவோர், மேம்படுத்தப்பட்ட "விண்டோஸ்' இயக்கத் தொகுப்புக்கு மாறுமாறு கேட்டுக் கொள்ளப்பட்டனர். ஆனால், நடைமுறை சிக்கல்கள் காரணமாக, பல்வேறு வங்கிகள், அவற்றின் ஏ.டி.எம்., இயக்கத் தொகுப்பை மேம்படுத்தாமல் விட்டு விட்டன. இந்த நிலையில், மைக்ரோசாப்ட் விதித்த, "கெடு' இன்னும் இரு வாரங்களில் முடிவடைவதால், எஸ்.பீ.ஐ., உள்ளிட்ட பல வங்கிகள், பிரச்னையின் தீவிரத்தை உணர்ந்து, உரிய நடவடிக்கைகளை எடுக்கத் துவங்கியுள்ளன.

எனினும், நாட்டில் உள்ள, 1.45 லட்சம் ஏ.டி.எம்.,களில், பெரும்பாலானவற்றின் இயக்கத் தொகுப்பையும் குறுகிய காலத்தில் மேம்படுத்துவது என்பது, இயலாத காரியம் என்கின்றனர், இத்துறை சார்ந்தவர்கள்.

இந்நிலையில், சைமன்டெக் போன்ற நிறுவனங்கள், மேம்பட்ட இயக்கத் தொகுப்புக்கு மாறும் வரை, ஏ.டி.எம்.,களுக்கான பாதுகாப்பு மென்பொருள் சேவைகளை வழங்கத் தயாராக உள்ளதாக அறிவித்துள்ளன. 

இருந்தபோதிலும், ஒவ்வொரு ஏ.டி.எம்.,மிலும் மென்பொருளை உள்ளீடு செய்வதும், அதற்காக சில பழைய இயந்திரங்களின், வன்பொருளில் மாற்றம் செய்வதிலும் ஏற்படும் காலதாமதத்தை தவிர்க்க முடியாது. அதுவரை அத்தகைய, ஏ.டி.எம்.,கள் முடங்குவதையும் தடுக்க முடியாது என்கின்றனர் ஆய்வாளர்கள்.

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Windows XP Support to End on April 8; ATMs at Risk

POSTED: 29 January 2014 9:19 pm

Microsoft's XP operating system has been around since 2001, but 29 percent of the world's computers still use it. Among those are about 95 percent of the ATMs in the United States.

The time has come for Windows XP to die, according to Microsoft, so it will be pulling the tech support plug on April 8. While many users will not be affected since they have converted to Windows 7 or Windows 8, it turns out that roughly 29 percent of computers across the world still use the aging OS.

What this means is that, even though the OS will continue working, the lack of security updates and support of Microsoft will leave users more vulnerable to hacking. It will also mean even fewer companies will be making any software that would support XP.

Apparently, the biggest source of concern is that 95 percent of the ATMs in the United States use XP, and only a small number of those -- perhaps 15 percent -- will be able to upgrade by the time Microsoft drops the OS hammer, according to a Bloomberg Businessweek report. Of course, ATM companies have had fair warning, as Microsoft originally wanted to end support for XP back in 2010, but decided to delay its demise.

While upgrading to Windows 7 or 8 is a viable option, not all the machines that currently run XP will be compatible, given their aging hardware. Also, many businesses still running XP (about 6 percent) may not be able to upgrade because of budget constraints, said Scott Dowling, a Microsoft software consultant for En Pointe Technologies. If you are affected, Microsoft has a tool that will help you figure out what your next OS could be. But don't be surprised if a new computer is necessary.

Microsoft may offer custom support for XP that would provide additional security patches, but at a cost. Dowling said early reports say the expense may be cost prohibitive.

Source: CNN Money

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95% of ATMs could face hacking threat

By Robert Anglen and Stacia Naquin

Wed Mar 12, 2014 11:35 AM

Banks and other businesses have less than a month to get their plans in place before the computer operating system powering about 95 percent of the country's ATMs becomes vulnerable to hackers and computer viruses.

On April 8, Microsoft will pull the plug on tech support for Windows XP, the brains behind nearly all of the nation's 420,000 automated teller machines.

That means Microsoft will stop providing patches to prevent security breaches in Windows XP and expose ATMs using the system to cyberthreats.

The threats aren't limited to only bank ATMs but any computer using the 12-year-old Windows XP, including medical offices, small businesses and personal computers.

"If you're still running your equipment on Windows XP, you're open to a lot of new threats," said Ken Colburn, president of Data Doctors, which is headquartered in Tempe. "All of the devices out there still running Windows XP have to get patched up and changed fairly quickly, or they are going to be exposed to hacks."

Colburn estimates 30 percent of globally connected computers use Windows XP.

Banks have been aware of the deadline for years. Some are negotiating private tech-support agreements with Microsoft to cover continued use of Windows XP, according to Bloomberg Businessweek, which first reported on the issue in January.

JPMorgan Chase bought a one-year extension and plans to transition to Windows 7 in July, Bloomberg Businessweek reported.

A Chase official said Tuesday the bank plans to start converting to Windows 7 in the summer and complete the upgrade by the end of the year.

"Because of our significant investment to expand and upgrade our ATM network, the vast majority of our machines are capable of running Windows 7," Chase spokeswoman Darcy Donahoe-Wilmot told The Republic in an e-mail. "About 15 percent of our machines will be replaced as part of the upgrade. ... There's no central download; each machine has to be visited individually and upgraded."

Wells Fargo, which operates 559 ATMs in Arizona, provided little details about its time frame for upgrading ATMs.

"Software maintenance is a regular part of our business," Phoenix spokesman Danny Ischy said in a statement Tuesday. "We're working with Microsoft and our ATM manufacturers to upgrade our ATMs as part of our normal software refresh activities."

Officials with BBVA Compass declined comment Tuesday about their ATMs. Representatives of Bank of America could not be reached.

Computer-security experts said customers will have little way of knowing if the ATMs they are using have been upgraded to the new operating system or whether their personal information is vulnerable. The same is true for other businesses using Windows XP.

Consumers are urged to ask their bank, medical provider and others they do business with whether they're making the upgrade.

Colburn said, "There's still a large number of people out there that just don't realize how big of a security threat this is," he said. "And after April 8 ... these hackers can come knocking and you're going to be defenseless."

The nation's ATM system does not operate under uniform federal standards. Decades-old cash machines in convenience stores operate next door to banks that run networks of thousands of machines.

"Surprisingly, only 15 percent of financial institutions are expected to react before the April 8 cutoff, according to a recent ATM industry association survey," Scott Kinka, chief technology officer of Evolve IP, wrote Tuesday in an article for ATM Marketplace called "One Month From Today: XP Armageddon."

Kinka cited financial concerns as the chief reason for the slow response by the banking industry.

"With approximately 420,000 working ATMs in the United States, upgrading is no small undertaking," Kinka wrote in the article. "While newer ATMs can be updated 'over the wire,' older versions require a manual upgrade, which literally involves sending expensive IT talent to remote ATM locations."

Most ATMs will need to upgrade to Windows 7, which Microsoft released in 2009. But some older machines will not have the capacity to support the operating system and will have to be replaced or have new computers installed, which could cost up to $3,500 per machine.

Banks own about half of the nation's ATMs. Computer-security experts for years have urged financial institutions to adopt new ways to run cash machines that aren't dependent on a personal-computer operating system.

"One option worth considering is to virtualize ATMs and move all software and operating systems to the bank's (or service provider's) protected network," Kinka said in the article. "The benefits, especially in the instance of ATMs, are numerous. Instead of storing data on physical computers, virtualization allows (financial institutions) to eliminate storage on local ATMs and store it in the cloud."

Microsoft's decision to eliminate technical support for Windows XP is no surprise for financial institutions. Microsoft ended mainstream technical support for Windows XP in 2009.

Extended support will end April 8. Microsoft says every Windows product has a "life cycle" that starts at the time of release and ends when support is canceled. In bulletins, the company encourages customers to "migrate to a modern operating system such as Windows 8.1."

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