WINDOWS 10 has got the official thumbs up from the hole in the wall industry, with advice to ATM developers and manufacturers to skip Windows 8 and Windows 8.1.
A paper from the ATM Industry Association (ATMIA) warns that ATMs need to be updated "without delay" with 2020 in mind, because Windows 7 will reach end of life at this time. But the ATMIA has also hinted that the future may not lie with Windows at all.
With the promise that the new version of Windows is to be the "last" as Microsoft moves to the idea of Windows-as-a-service, upgrades to Windows 10 are more likely to guarantee an avoidance of the problems caused when Windows XP reached end of life last year.
Most ATMs run Windows XP Embedded, which remains supported for the moment, or Windows 7, but the challenges facing machines that have a finite lifespan because of their software, but require terrifically large and expensive hardware for security, remain a big problem: an expensive outlay which requires a long life solution to match its steel frame.
But as ATMIA CEO Mike Lee explained: "For those deployers seeking alternatives, the association has a next-generation ATM architecture looking into such innovations as Linux-based ATMs or Android-operated ATMs.
"We expect there to be some parallel trajectories in future with a mainstream solution adopted by the majority of deployers, probably Windows 10 in our view, and alternative systems like Linux and Android."
However, Lee warned members: "Bear in mind that it’s not advisable for deployers to wait on the XP system for Windows 10, as there are security risks to being on an unsupported OS platform."
ATM security is a never ending headache for the industry. Whether it's simple ram-raiding, more complex malware schemes limited to two days a week, or simply forgetting to change the admin password so two kids can download the instructions, ATM manufacturers now need to look to the future and make sure that software end of life never affects them again. µ
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