Advertisement

You will be redirected to the page you want to view in  seconds.

Kevin Coleman is a senior fellow at SilverRhino and former chief strategist at Netscape. (File) ()

More

Microsoft’s April 8 deadline for stopping all support of Windows XP is fast approaching. The question is – are we ready? That day will come and go and there will still be desktops, laptops and other equipment that run XP in operation. A recent poll of IT professionals found that more than 30 percent plan to leave at least some of their existing XP systems in place after the April deadline. One estimate actually projected that 20 percent of the world’s PCs will still be using XP after Microsoft stops support. Let’s do the math! By one count there are 1.1 billion computers in the world and only half of them are running Windows. If 20 percent of that half continue to run on XP, that means there would be 110 million computers running XP. Wow -- now that would be a bot-net!

A March 11 discussion with a critical infrastructure provider was cause for increased concern. He disclosed that they have approximately 4,000 PCs still running XP and a fair amount of specialized pieces of equipment that has XP as their operating system. In discussion with the specialized equipment vendor about this rapidly approaching issue, the vendor’s answer was it can’t be upgraded so you have to buy new equipment!

So you have the cost of new hardware, new software licenses, updating custom developed software applications, installation, testing. That is a big number that is not in the budget. Now consider the time it takes to procure all of this and the budgetary and legal approvals, when you add all of that up it is clear they are not going to come close to making it by the April deadline. The issue is not so much the traditional computer (PC and laptop), but equipment with embedded computing capabilities that use XP. Even simple process controllers can be a risk. The answer is NOT to go out and buy a new piece of hardware, because you have the same software, system modification and testing issues with these devices.

Dennis Brandl, an automation consultant in manufacturing, added another dimension to this problem: We don’t have the quantity of proper training resources to address this issue in the short-term! Available people are especially important in validation required industries where just any changes to the system may require a complete system validation.

If this is anywhere close of an accurate representation of the status after April 8, does that risk rise to the level of a national security threat?

More In C4ISR & Networks

More from this channel

  1. Among the federal programs Sen. Tom Coburn has criticized as wasteful is the Tactical Assault Light Operator Suit, sometimes referred to as the Iron Man suit. Gareth Cattermole/ / Getty Images

    In final 'Wastebook,' Coburn hits DoD 'Iron Man,' missile defense programs

    Retiring senator's annual attack on federal spending criticizes Pentagon programs, among others.

    • 10:38 AM
  2. A Marine EA-6B 2 Prowler with Marine Tactical Electronic Warfare Squadron 2 takes off in Afghanistan. A 1,000-pound jamming system pod fell off of a Prowler while it was flying over Arizona on Oct. 13. Marine Corps

    Jamming pod falls off Marine Corps Prowler mid-flight

    Marines recovered the pod in Arizona, which contains sensors able to locate the source of enemy communications.

    • Oct 23, 2014
  3. Soldiers working with civilians from PEO C3T install commercial IP packages at the Army's Landstuhl, Germany, Regional Hub Node. The node will be the hub for the communications network in support of the Operational United Assistance, aiding the response to the Ebola outbreak in West Africa. U.S. Army

    Army setting up comms for Ebola response in West Africa

    The Army is working to coordinate crisis response in Liberia.

    • 7:08 AM
  4. From left to right: Jean-Yves Le Drian, French minister of defense; Pascale Sourisse, senior vice president for international development for Thales; Maj. Gen. Hamad Bin Ali Al Attiyah, Qatar minister of state for defense affairs; Abdulaziz Falah Al-Dosari, assistant for technology to the minister of state for defense affairs. Thales

    Thales to provide military SATCOM for Qatar

    Thales is also bidding for work on the new Qatari naval forces base, which is expected to be operational in 2017.

    • Oct 23, 2014
  5. Bob Kimball is Chief Technology Officer, Ciena Government Solutions. Courtesy Photo

    Cyber resilience: Why networks matter

    To encourage a more stable, safe and resilient cyberspace, President Obama issued Executive Order 13636 in early 2013, which called for the establishment of a set of security standards for critical infrastructure, including military operations.

    • 10:28 AM
  6. The US Air Force's E-8 joint surveillance target attack radar system aircraft is built by Northrop Grumman. The aircraft provide ground commanders with ISR. Senior Airman Jared Trimarchi/ / US Air Force

    Questions ahead for JSTARS replacement

    Congress could put a halt to the effort to replace the attack radar system aircraft fleet.

    • Oct 23, 2014

Daily intelligence on C4ISR and networks

There's no better way to know what's going on every day in areas like UAS and sensors, GEOINT, C2 and communications, cyber, mobility and defense IT, than to sign up for our daily C4ISRNET newsletters. The news will come right to your inbox, along with commentary and insight from our lineup of senior-level bloggers.

Sign up is easy and quick.