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ATMs and outdated Operating System

Yesterday I went to a State Bank of Mysore ATM to withdraw some cash. I swiped the card, entered PIN and the amount to withdraw. Just when the machine was about to dispense cash something strange happened. The machine gone blank and I didn’t get the money. But I got an SMS saying that some amount was withdrawn from my account. Touching the screen everywhere and pressing all buttons didn’t do anything.

I thought I lost my money and I started recording ongoing events with my mobile so that I would be having a good chance in claiming my money back by blaming the faulty ATM. After a couple of minutes the machine restarted, booting Microsoft Windows XP!

I hoped that the machine would dispense the money after the reboot. But I just got a blank slip instead. However the amount that has been deducted got refunded to my account within a few minutes. But what concerned me more is the fact that government organizations and financial institutions are still using Microsoft Windows XP, an unsupported operating system with lots of vulnerabilities.

It has been proven that ATMs running on Windows XP can be compromised with malware to steal money. Yet, the banks haven’t upgraded their system. This is a huge security issue. Cyber crimes are increasing exponentially over the years. There is no sense in sticking to a decade older operating system in banks. Yes, upgrading all systems requires huge financial resources. But they could consider alternatives like Linux which does not cost too much and is considered more stable and secure. Better be safe than sorry, banks!

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Prasanna SP

Student | WordPress Dev | Tech Blogger | Interested in GNU/Linux, FOSS, PHP, Drupal, WordPress, Ethical hacking, Photography, Painting, Literature etc..

Permanent link to this article: http://www.prasannasp.net/atms-outdated-operating-system/

1 comment

  1. Shivanandana

    Rightly said… I too have experienced this some years ago…Most of the private banks have upgraded and some bank use their own OS.. Like, the Karnataka Bank uses Finacle..
    Yes, Linux is a much better and cost-effective alternative… … But Govt banks…!! Meh.!!!

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