Feeds

Victorian Police say Redmond's wrong! XP doesn't 'heighten risk'

Still plans to ditch it come December

Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable

Victoria Police has defended its continued use of Windows XP until the dying days of 2014, claiming it does not elevate risk.

The use of the almost 13 year-old now defunct operating system was revealed in a blue paper which found many officers could not open files in new applications and resorted to printing documents to take home.

"The Victoria Police computer network still uses Windows XP, which has been superseded by three newer operating systems," the Victoria Police Blue Paper [PDF] revealed.

"Many police encounter difficulty in opening documents created using newer programs and resort to taking the documents home to read, print or convert to a usable format."

A VicPol spokeswoman defended the use of XP telling Fairfax it did not "heighten risk" for the agency, without elaborating further or indicating if the agency had shelled out for expensive $200-per-desktop custom support.

The Garden State's police service planned to rip out XP by December this year signalling the first operating system upgrade "in many years", the paper noted.

The seemingly bizarre comments supporting the risk profile of XP clashed with advice from Microsoft and the security industry that the platform is now hacker fodder. The cessation of XP security patches meant Windows updates could be reverse engineered to provide attackers with a means to reliably exploit the operating system; Trustworthy Computing director Tim Rains said in August this meant XP would "essentially have a zero day vulnerability forever".

Security bod and NCC Group Asia Pac managing director Wade Alcorn said Vic Pol's use Windows XP was below standard.

"The Victorian Police, and the industry as a whole, has had ample notice that Windows XP would come to end of life," Alcorn said.

"It is significantly below industry security expectations that critical and sensitive data be trusted to this operating system.

"Police officers and indeed the general public should not have to be concerned whether the Police Force’s IT infrastructure is running antiquated and vulnerable operating systems. Using end of life operating systems heightens the probability of a range of attacks, which can ultimately lead to exposure and exploitation of sensitive information."

He pointed out that XP was created at a time when the threat landscape was less demanding and cited research that suggested XP was six times more vulnerable than Windows 7.

Redmond even recommended that the tech community through its unpaid community service role as tech support for friends and family should insist on dumping XP, albeit though the purchase of new computer kit.

Victoria's finest are not alone in their clingy love for XP; a new three-month BitDefender study declared one in five small to medium sized businesses still used the operating system while F-Secure security thinker Mikko Hypponen declared he "can't wait for Windows XP to die".

The blue paper further criticised Vic Police for having more than 600 stand-alone programs and databases produced from ad-hoc workarounds, insufficient storage for police to "perform their duties", and an inability to apply analytics, voice recognition and video analysis to valuable raw data which limited "real-time preventative, detection and investigation efforts".

It also tore up Vic Pols' core database dubbed the Law Enforcement Assistance Program (LEAP) for running on "obsolete" mainframe and green screen technology. ®

Application security programs and practises

More from The Register

next story
ONE EMAIL costs mining company $300 MEEELION
Environmental activist walks free after hoax sent share price over a cliff
HP, Microsoft prove it again: Big Business doesn't create jobs
SMEs get lip service - what they need is dinner at the Club
ITC: Seagate and LSI can infringe Realtek patents because Realtek isn't in the US
Land of the (get off scot) free, when it's a foreign owner
Arrr: Freetard-bothering Digital Economy Act tied up, thrown in the hold
Ministry of Fun confirms: Yes, we're busy doing nothing
UK.gov's Open Source switch WON'T get rid of Microsoft, y'know
What do you mean, we've ditched Redmond in favour of IBM?!
Help yourself to anyone's photos FOR FREE, suggests UK.gov
Copyright law reforms will keep m'learned friends busy
Putin: Crack Tor for me and I'll make you a MILLIONAIRE
Russian Interior Ministry offers big pile o' roubles for busting pro-privacy browser
Apple smacked with privacy sueball over Location Services
Class action launched on behalf of 100 million iPhone owners
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.