Ello ello then! UK's second largest police force still running XP

Mae Love
September 22, 2017

The second biggest police force in the United Kingdom, the Manchester Police is still using Microsoft's Windows XP operating on nearly 20% of its computers.

We should at least be glad to know that one of the other respondents, the Civil Nuclear Constabulary said it had fewer than 10 machines running XP and that none of them was on the live network.

However, the Greater Manchester Police are addressing the issue and are now taking steps to reduce their reliance on Windows XP. Going by the pace in which they have updated their systems, they should be able to bring down the number to zero by next year.

London's Metropolitan Police Service did not want to share an up-to-date figure with the BBC.

However, Greater Manchester Police claimed that over 1500 PCs were still on the legacy operating system, amounting to around 20% of the total.

A spokesperson for the police told the BBC: "The remaining XP machines are still in place due to complex technical requirements from a small number of externally provided highly specialised applications". "Even if vulnerabilities are identified in XP, Microsoft will not deliver system updates in the same way it does for more modern versions of Windows", said an expert from University College in an interview with the BBC.

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"Work is well advanced to mitigate each of these special requirements within this calendar year, typically through the replacement or removal of the software applications in question". It's alarming that some organisations continue to use Windows XP. Windows XP is being used on a large scale (1,518) computers despite Microsoft is not supporting the operating system anymore.

Prior to - and since - the end of support, the software firm has warned users that continuing to run Windows XP represents a security risk, and that upgrading to a newer operating system is strongly advised.

'"The challenge faced by the police illustrates a much more widespread problem across the public and private sector, ' said Mat Clothier, CEO, CTO and Founder of United Kingdom software business, Cloudhouse".

"So, if the [police's] Windows XP computers are exposed to the public internet, then that would be a serious concern".

At the same time, nearly half of all Brits are sure that the Government would pay any ransom to minimise disruption if the police were hacked.

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