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Government plays down fears over Windows XP



Technology team says migration laggards can manage risks using CESG guidance

Whitehall’s lead technology team has tried to play down fears over government bodies continuing to use devices running on Microsoft’s Windows XP operating system, despite the end of a support deal last month.

The Government Technology blog claims there has been good progress in moving away from Windows XP and that many public bodies have completed the transition, despite providing no numbers on the extent of the migration.

It implicitly acknowledges that some are continuing to use the operating system, for which Microsoft officially withdrew support in 2014, but says the risk can be mitigated by using the obsolete platforms security guidance published by the government’s National Technical Authority for Information Assurance, CESG.

“Where this is not possible, they may need to review their own short term transition support,” the blog says.

The Crown Commercial Service negotiated a one-year deal with Microsoft to prolong support for government bodies in migrating away from Windows XP. This came to an end in April and the government Technology Leaders team decided against extending the arrangement.

It is unclear how widely the operating system is still used by public authorities, but the absence of support from the supplier will increase the security risks and intensify the urgency to move to a new system.

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