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UK's CASH POINTS to MISS Windows XP withdrawal date

Fear of fine trumps fear of breach for banks

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Extended support? You must be joking

Johnson also reckoned hardly any banks have paid Microsoft additional money to provide extended security cover for the cash machines.

Windows XP laggards in the public and private sector have swallowed rather than continue to run vulnerable PCs without protection from Microsoft.

“Only a few have taken extended support and that’s on the back of large PC estate migrations – 20 to 30,000 PCs,” Johnson said.

Microsoft is charging users who want extended support for custom agreements $200 per PC in the first year of a contract, $400 in year two and $800 for year three.

The chances of an ATM being hacked are relatively small, as cash-machine providers have locked down or disabled large parts of the standard Windows OS. Also, the banks themselves prevent them from directly accessing the internet.

Physical attack is an option: NCR’s newest self-service ATMs have a USB slot for engineers, but NCR reckons this is an encrypted slot that’s hard to access.

Banks are less concerned about money lost in an attack than about the related financial consequences of an attack being successful.

Banks adhere to data security requirements under the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard, administered by the Payment Card Industry Security Standards Council that was created by the World’s global payment providers - American Express, Discover Financial Services, JCB International, MasterCard, and Visa International.

The PCI DSS states operating systems must be protected against known vulnerabilities using vendors’ latest security patches.

A loss of data or a breach resulting from failure to follow PCI DSS standards could result in whopping fines.

Banks can be fined $5,000 to $100,000 per month for PCI compliance violations.

“One of the things banks are worried about is the risk of compliance, with things like PCI standards, so if there’s a breach they are wide open to the consequences commercially,” Johnson told The Reg. “If they suffer fraud and are not PCI compliant, they are open to being sued by various interested parties.”

The PCI has cut the banks some slack when it comes to Windows XP, saying they can implement “compensating controls” - but only as a temporary measure.

“The eventual solution is to upgrade to a supported operating system, and the entity should have an active migration plan for doing so,” the PCI says.

Compensation controls are no easy option. They mandate the bank regularly conduct “exhaustive reviews” of all known exploits with appropriate updates to the operating system configurations, antivirus protection, network and firewall rules. PCI also mandates use of IP address whitelisting.

NCR is re-selling banks its McAfee’s Solidcore IP whitelisting suite, bought by the AV company in 2009 for $33m, that NCR reckons it has “adapted” for ATMs. ®

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