Windows XP poses hacking threats to ATMs

Microsoft is no longer providing security updates for Windows XP as of April 8, 2014.

Windows XP happens to be the preferred software of an estimated 95 percent of ATMs across the country.

Scott Erwin, owner of Scottâ??s Custom Computers in Amarillo, said Windows XP is now vulnerable to hackers.

â??Typically when a hacker breaks into an operating system, the creator of that operating system, in this case Microsoft, looks at how they got in and they issue an update,â?? Erwin said. â??That update closes the gap that allowed them to get in in the first place. Once someone gets in and that becomes a popular way to get in, hacking XP will easy.â??

A computer science professor at West Texas A&M University, H. Paul Haiduk, said everyone should be cautious when it comes to using Windows XP at banks or at home.

â??I would avoid ATMs until my bank tells me our ATM machine across the country no longer running XP,â?? Haiduk said. â??Youâ??ve been warned. You better be careful and donâ??t be surprised if your identity is stolen if you continue to use XP.â??

Senior vice president of Happy State Bank, Greg Houlette, said they already converted from Windows XP to Windows 7.

â??We wanted to make sure we could upgrade our software to the new software for the products and services that our customers expect,â?? Houlette said. â??And two, because of the security patches that Windows comes out with. We want to make sure that all computer systems were secure.â??

Assistant vice president of electronic banking of Amarillo National Bank, Stewart Dodson, said they are in the process of converting from Windows XP to Windows 7. He said it should be completed by the end of May 2014.

â??As our software we use, we have kind of a mix right now. We have Windows XP and Windows 7,â?? Dodson said. â??Weâ??ve been working with our processor and ATM providers since last year, kind of get them ready for the Windows 7 switch. Unfortunately, personnel has been an issue as far as getting staffing to get all those ATMs converted. So weâ??re working on that as we speak and we hope to be finished up next month.â??

Dodson said Amarillo National Bank ATMs are still safe to use, even though some use Windows XP.

Haiduk and Erwin said there's no way to tell if an ATM is operating on Windows XP. Haiduk said the best thing to do is call the bank.

FirstBank Southwest did not respond to Pronews 7 as to which operating system they currently use.