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Banks Upgrading ATM Systems Before Tech Support Stops

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     Protecting your information and your money. The majority of bank ATM operating systems across the country are about to lose tech support. Those that aren't upgraded could be prime targets for hackers.  Microsoft even has its own countdown until April 8th. That's when it will kill tech support for the Windows XP operating system.

     The majority of ATM's, 95 percent across the country, use the Windows XP operating system. In just weeks they could become a lot more vulnerable.

     "When you go to one of the river boats here you know you're gambling. When you go to an ATM you shouldn't think you're gambling but you will be come April the 9th," said Edward Zipper, a computer security expert and owner of Precision Computer Services.

     The issue is with Windows XP. The system is more than a decade old but the vast majority of ATM's still use it. After April 8th if there are holes or flaws in the operating system, they won't be fixed.

     "There's usually 14-20 bugs patched a month, now we're going to go from that to none," added Zipper.

    Now banks across the country are working to replace their ATM fleets hoping to avoid hackers. Citibank, Wells Fargo and other companies are upgrading one machine at a time. Zipper says he knows some local banks are working on it too, but how will customers know which ones are safe?

     "Is there going to be a sticker on that ATM that says we are post XP compliant? I don't think so," said Zipper.

     He says come next month consider where you use the ATM or your debit card. Using two bank accounts could be another form of protection if you avoid electronic withdraws from the one with the majority of funds. Meantime, what he hopes will happen is a federal injunction for Microsoft to extend security for another year. JP Morgan Chase recently struck a deal with Microsoft for just that.

      Many of the random ATM's in malls and bars run on an even older version of Windows, a version Microsoft still supports.


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