ATMs Could be Vulnerable to Hackers

If you often visit your nearby ATM to get cash, you may want to check with your bank to make sure its machines have been upgraded.

According to several media sources, 95 percent of the world's ATMs use Windows XP as their operating system. Microsoft has said it will end its support for that system -- including the updates that protect ATMs from potential hackers when security flaws are found -- on April 8.

While some machines have been upgraded, changing the operating system and hardware is expensive, and many may still be vulnerable to hackers, according to a CBS News report.

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According to Reuters, many national banks have a plan in place to ensure a seamless transition: 

  • Bank of America told Reuters it would ask Microsoft to extend support for its machines still running on Windows XP.
  • Citigroup, which has more than 12,000 ATMs worldwide, told Reuters it's in the process of upgrading its machines from XP and declined to give further details.
  • JPMorgan Chase confirmed to that it had purchased a custom technology support agreement from Microsoft.
  • TD Bank confirmed it moved to upgrade with its own software provider.

But don't forget, in addition to banks there are thousands of stand-alone ATMs located inside small businesses such as convenience stores and malls.

And if you're still running Microsoft XP on your PC, it's time to either upgrade or buy a new computer. Technical assistance and automatic updates that help protect your computer from security risks and viruses is also ending.

Your best bet is to probably start shopping for a new device, since "very few older computers will be able to run Windows 8.1," which is the latest version of Windows," according to Microsoft. The company offers an online guide to whether your PC can be upgraded to the newer system. 

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