Report: IRS will pay Microsoft millions for Windows XP support

Avatar By Aaron Sims | 7 years ago

Sometime around midnight on Apr. 8, nearly 30 percent of computers across the globe received their final batch of security patches from Microsoft. The Redmond corporation finally ended support for the 13-year old XP operating system on Wednesday, leaving millions of users more vulnerable to cyber attacks.

While computers running XP continued to function normally,  all technical support ceased. For the first time in over a decade, those computers are without the regular security patches that Microsoft has released almost monthly to address new vulnerabilities as they are discovered. While Microsoft has agreed to continue issuing updates for its Security Essentials malware detection program until July 2015, which runs on XP, anyone continuing to rely on the system will be taking a huge risk.

And that could be quite a lot of people. The Economist reports that, according to NetMarketShare, a web-analytics consultancy, Windows XP runs on 28 percent of the world’s PCs, making it the second most popular operating system. End of XP support will therefore leave over 400 million machines exposed, including 95 percent of all the ATMs in the world.

Aravinda Korala, CEO of ATM software provider KAL, told Bloomberg Businessweek that he expects only 15 percent of bank ATMs in the U.S. to be on Windows 7 by the April deadline.

“The ATM world is not really ready, and that’s not unusual,” said Korala. “ATMs move more slowly than PCs.”

The government may not be ready either. According to Engadget, the IRS will pay Microsoft millions for custom support to keep their machines secure while the agency upgrades to Windows 7. Currently, over half the agency’s PCs still run XP.

Based on the number of PCs that the IRS still has running XP and the average per-PC cost for the first year of Custom Support, Computerworld’s Gregg Keizer figured out that the tax-enforcement agency will pay Microsoft $11.6 million for one year of support.