Microsoft has announced that it will provide malware updates for Windows XP beyond the company's originally planned cutoff date of April 8. The company said in a blog post that it still plans to discontinue support for the operating system, but will continue to update anti-malware signatures and engine for users through July 14, 2015.
The announcement will come as some relief to ATM operators whose fleets operate on XP. No more than 15 percent of these operators expect to have updated their fleets ready to the new standard — Microsoft Windows 7 — by the April 2014 deadline, according to a report by Computing and other industry publications.
The announcement specifically refers to Microsoft's malicious software removal tool. According to Computer World, the program is updated monthly to target malware that the company believes to be the greatest current threat to the XP operating system.
Updates do not prevent the installation of malware on XP; their purpose is to scrub existing malware programs from the operating system. The update installs and runs automatically to carry out a search-and-destroy operation on malicious code.
Microsoft's original plan to discontinue anti-malware updates would have left the great majority of the world's ATMs vulnerable to hacking and malware installation. And as recent POS malware installations at Target Corp. have demonstrated, such attacks can significantly affect all members of the payments chain.
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