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Published On: Mon, Apr 21st, 2014

Security experts lower ATM alert threat on Banks

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Security experts have lowered alert a notch but warned that attacks by cyber-thieves on automated teller machines (ATMs) of most banks in the county remained “strong possibility” following the end of support for the vulnerable Microsoft Windows XP operating system which ended April 8,

Microsoft replaced Windows XP with Windows 8 with major changes to the operating system’s platform and user interface to improve its user experience.

Nigerian banks and many of the world’s cash machines are still believed to be running Windows XP.

It is believed that anyone using the 13-year-old software would be at increased risk of infection and compromise by cyber-thieves.

In Nigeria, there are fears that the ATMs of most of the banks may no longer function as most of them have failed the deadline.

But Ladi Taiwo, a certified Microsoft technology associate that the situation may have been blown out of proportion.

No African country is yet to develop their own ATM, so the ones in use at the moment in Africa and most developing countries were supplied by UK, Germany and the likes, so they are covered and will remain so until they are upgraded,” he added.

also gathered that some of those existing XP users have struck deals to get security fixes from Microsoft while they complete their migration away from the ageing code.

Chuks Iku, chairman, Committee of e-Banking Industry Heads (CeBIH), said his association has engaged Microsoft Nigeria to fashion out means of creating a uniform approach to compliance with the need for migration of ATM operating system from Windows XP to Windows Embedded 8.1 which is the new operating system designed to run on ATMs.

“This step ensured security of ATM transactions and helped to prevent attacks on ATM terminals,” he said.

Iku who is also the head of E-Business at Skye Bank, said the group is also looking at what happens next if the banks fail to comply, including extension of the deadline.

Anyalenkeya said the ATMs that were installed in the last one or two years would have been upgraded except for the old ones. He said the compliance level depends on each lender and assured that there is no cause for alarm.

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