A month after support officially ended for Windows XP, details of how far the UK’s public sector lags in the tech world has been emerging. The government is paying Microsoft millions of pounds to extend their support package for Windows XP.
Instead of replacing the 13 year-old XP systems and computers, like most business are doing, the UK Public sector has instead deferred change for yet another year, opting to pay Microsoft to keep them safe.
In an extension deal worth £5.5million, Microsoft will continue to offer support of Windows XP and Office 2003 for all British public sector customers.
Users still working with XP are no longer protected with continual updates from Microsoft. Failure to upgrade leaves computers at risk to security breaches, compliance issues and incompatibility with modern programs.
The UK’s multimillion pound deal is not a ‘get of jail’ card for the public sector, with the bailout only valid for one year. The government will still need to upgrade their public sector systems to Windows 7 or 8 within the next 12 months as to not be open to attack once again.
It’s not just the UK government who have failed to shift from XP systems. The Dutch government have also been forced to sign a multi-million Euro deal to extend support for huge numbers of civil servants computers. Major banks are currently paying for support on their ageing cash machines as they race to update, and across the pond in the United States, the IRS are also well behind schedule migrating across to Windows 8 paying Microsoft for extended support.First warning for XP users
Unlike the public sector, small businesses who have not upgraded or paid the millions of pounds for extended support will face their first serious security test, after a vulnerability has been discovered in all versions of Internet Explorer. The security flaw affects IE 6 to 11, with XP users usually working on versions 6,7 or 8.
Although there’s no fix for any versions of Windows at the moment, it’s likely there will be soon; except for XP of course. That means for those using Internet Explorer on XP, there’s a leak in the system there’s no fix on the horizon.
A spokesperson from Microsoft commented:
“Prolonged support with XP is really only an option for large organisations or public sectors who have the money and need more time to upgrade their systems… It’s quite costly and there’s no certainty that support will even be offered after the year is up.”