A lot has been said about the banking sector following the Global Financial Crisis. How leveraged they were, how they duped pension funds into risky investments and how much money they make. But one thing I haven’t heard mentioned much is how they are all built on an antique platform. If you are thinking that I am now going to talk about BitCoin and how it “is a form of currency for the modern society” well you wrong. I will cover off BitCoin in another post. I am talking about Windows XP the Operating System (OS) from 2001 that they use.
In this article Quartz’s explains that:
“The Federal Reserve is warning US banks to prepare for a looming April 8 deadline, at which point Microsoft has stated that it will be ending its support for Windows XP, the operating system created in 2001. That means the tech company will no longer offer security patches—fixes which address potential vulnerability to cyberattack—or tech assistance.”
This means that as new vulnerabilities are found in the OS Microsoft will no longer be fixing them. This is slightly worrying considering that 95% of ATMs in the US are running XP.
So how has this happened? Well it is purely rational why.
Microsoft has released a number of alternative, newer products over the years which the financial services community could have implemented, Vista, Windows 7 and Windows 8.1. Why didn’t they upgrade?
Well the first cab off the rank is Vista. There were good reasons for not updating to this, these included security and privacy issues. So fair enough that they didn’t upgrade, I wouldn’t want my bank running an OS that had security flaws.
Then came Windows 7. I don’t really offer any good insight into why this was never taken up except that maybe they didn’t want to invest in a system change in 2009-10 when things weren’t so positive for the sector.
Lastly, there is Windows 8, a touch based OS described by a friend of mine as “fucking annoying if you don’t have a touch screen”. Now I can’t really envisage the financial services community working their excel on a large tablets.
Well what about Apple then? Apple has always been more consumer orientated than business so it didn’t really offer any viable alternatives.
So this all seems fairly rational. Microsoft is now turning off the help and the Fed is warning the industry. We will see how this plays out.