THE UK GOVERNMENT has confirmed that it will not extend its Windows XP support agreement with Microsoft for a second year.
Windows XP reached end-of-life status in April 2014, but the government made a payment of £5.5m to Microsoft to provide bespoke support for the large number of government systems and machines that had not been updated in time.
It had been widely expected that a second, much larger, payment would become due this year after it transpired that many departments had done little or nothing to migrate away from the unsupported operating system.
We reported in October on claims that large swathes of the NHS would miss the April deadline.
However, a blog post from the government's technology team has confirmed that such an arrangement has not been made.
"The Technology Leaders met last month and took a collective decision to not extend the support arrangement for 2015. The current support agreement ended in April 2015," said the post.
"There has been good progress in moving away from Windows XP across departments and government organisations, and with many public bodies this transition is complete."
This is great news for the put-upon public purse, or at least the Cabinet port and caviar fund, but alarm bells are ringing because the claim that "many" public organisations are sorted suggests that some still aren't.
As the post said: "All departments have had seven years' warning of the 2014 end of normal support and this one-year agreement was put together with the support of Technology Leaders to give everyone a chance to get off XP."
A guidance document exists to aid users of obsolete platforms containing such Viz Top Tips for XP users as: "Reduce the likelihood and scope for compromise by preventing the devices from accessing untrusted content effectively making it hard for malicious content to reach the device and exploit it."
Another tip is: "Reduce the impact of compromise by preventing access to sensitive data or services from vulnerable devices, so even if the devices are compromised, the damage will be minimised."
Switching it off and on again isn't mentioned.
We revealed last month that the Metropolitan Police still has 35,000 XP machines on the go because different departments have passed the buck over replacement. An active dialogue was said to be going on with Microsoft over extended support.
The INQUIRER already has a pending request under the Freedom of Information Act to find out more about what's patched, what isn't, and whether any of it involves the Trident missile programme and a vulnerability in Minesweeper. µ
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