Banks face sanctions over Windows XP

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The Central Bank of Nigeria may sanction banks over their failure to migrate all their Automated Teller Machines from Windows XP to Windows 7 operating system.

Findings by our correspondent showed that barely two weeks to the expiry of the January 31 deadline set by the CBN for banks to migrate all their ATMs to Windows 7, over 10,500 were still running on Windows XP operating system.

The figure represents over 70 per cent of the estimated 15,000 ATMs installed across the country.

The central bank had last year written to all Deposit Money Banks in the country giving them up until January 31 to migrate their ATMs from the Windows XP to Windows 7 or 8.

The CBN’s letter followed the expiry of the lifecycle of the Windows XP operating system on April 8, 2014.

Last April, Microsoft said it had ended its technical support for Windows XP after 12 years of existence, having exceeded the usual 10-year lifecycle for most of its operating system.

The Country Manager, Microsoft Nigeria, Mr. Kabelo Makwane, said the current level of cybercrimes and electronic frauds was beyond the capability of the Windows XP, hence the decision of the company to end its support for it.

Makwane said Microsoft had been encouraging the banks to migrate to Windows 7 as the level of cybercrimes currently existing in the globe was beyond the capacity of Windows XP.

“The reality is that the cyber security threats that exist today are far beyond the capabilities of Windows XP. Getting banks migrated is not for selfish interest but, ultimately for the benefit of the end users,” he said

The CBN spokesman, Mr. Ibrahim Mu’azu, told our correspondent on Monday that the central bank would assess the level of compliance after the deadline and decide on what to do.

Mu’azu, who was silent on what the bank would likely do, maintained that it would have to wait after the deadline before making public its decision.

“As regulators, we cannot assume they will not meet up. When the time comes, we will look at it and take our decision,” he said.

Microsoft Nigeria said over 70 per cent of estimated 13,000 ATMs in the country as of April last year were yet running on Windows XP.

Makwane had said, “The reality is that all of the ATMs in Nigeria run on Microsoft Windows OS. About 30 per cent of that is actually running on Windows 7, which is fully supported right now. So, you are probably looking at 70 per cent of that still running on Windows XP.”

Microsoft could not provide the current figure on the number of ATMs still running on Windows XP but findings by our correspondent showed that over 10,500 out of the estimated 15,000 in the country were still connected to Windows XP.

Copyright PUNCH.

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