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Japan's XP migration solution: Remove network cable

Security problems solved the old-fashioned way...

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A Japanese local government has come up with a rather unusual solution to the problem of Windows XP migration – keep the venerable OS but disconnect the remaining PCs running it from the internet.

In around a year’s time, April 8 2014 to be precise, Microsoft will end free support for the operating system which is still installed on around a third of machines in the Land of the Rising Sun.

This will mean an end to free security patches and fixes for knackered code – exposing organisations to a host of potential info-security risks.

However, with cost pressures to the fore, some prefectural governments are taking unusual steps to deal with the impending OS-ocalypse, according to Japanese paper Chunichi Shimbun (via RocketNews24).

Aichi prefectural government is planning to replace 7,200 of the 8,000 PCs running XP in fiscal 2013, but has decided to keep the remaining 800 even after the 8 April deadline.

In the prefecture’s Ichinomiya City, for example, a third of its XP machines (around 360) will be kept running but safe from harm by disconnecting them from the interwebs.

In Toyohashi City, Ethernet ports will apparently be taped up in case users forget that their machine is no longer allowed to reach a network.

The report didn’t specify whether IT teams in the region were also planning to tape up USB ports – although this would remove another potential channel of infection and data leakage, and isolate the legacy boxes even more from the rest of the office.

The cost of upgrading hardware and software appears to have taken its toll in other ways too.

In Gifu prefecture’s Takayama City, an IT bod told Chunichi that city officials would be forced to help out with the upgrades because outsourcing such tasks is a luxury they can no longer afford. ®

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