#CyberFLASH: End to Microsoft XP support could put millions of computers at risk of hacking

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OTTAWA — Computer and banking systems around the world are about to be hit with a new challenge to their security.

On April 8, Microsoft Corp. officially closes the door on Windows XP.

The 12-year-old program still accounts for 29.2 per cent of all operating systems worldwide, according to research firm Net Market Share.

It’s installed on more than 95 per cent of all automated banking machines and is used in the networks that link those machines together, according to security researcher Symantec.

The software is also deployed on as many as 1.9 million Point-of-Sale (POS) machines — where you key your PINs at checkout lanes — across North America, and four million around the world, according to retail industry researcher IHL Group.

Come April, no more security patches will be released to protect any Windows XP systems, rendering all computers running the software open to attack by malicious hackers.

One recent attack on Bell Canada’s network due to an outdated security patch on a server led to hackers getting access to the personal data of 22,400 of its small- and medium-sized business customers.

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