Windows XP Usage Dominance Makes Healthcare Sector Prone To Cyber Attacks

The healthcare sector is targeted by hackers and online criminals more often than any other industry. That is not surprising by any means, as the vast majority of healthcare providers still rely on Windows XP. This operating system has not received major updates for a while now, and an upgrade is necessary. For some reason, however, it does not appear that will happen anytime soon.

Windows XP Remains Prevalent In Healthcare

When healthcare institutions do not take the necessary precautions to keep their data safe, hell will break loose sooner rather than later. Since most of these healthcare companies rely on Widows XP as a computer operating system, it is not hard to see where the problem lies. Microsoft is no longer providing security updates for this OS, and hackers will exploit any lingering vulnerability without problems.

IT Staff working in the healthcare sector acknowledges the problem of running Windows XP in the year 2016 and beyond. Unfortunately, there is no budget to upgrade the OS to a newer version. As a result, they are forced to do patch jobs wherever they can, in the hopes of not making matters even worse in the process.

‘Infosecurity Magazine’ recently reported that 90% of NHS Trust run Windows XP, which is quite a significant number. Although some of them will be upgrading to a newer operating system, the plans are not moving ahead at the appropriate speed. In fact, under half of the respondents expect to have an upgrade in place by the end of 2017.

Don’t be mistaken in thinking that this problem lies within the UK alone, though. Global healthcare institutions are suffering from the same problems, most of which stem forth from lackluster budgets and not having the time to execute a massive OS upgrade on the entire network. Unlike most other businesses, one cannot pause healthcare and start it up a week later.

Malware, ransomware, and other types of nasty software can make use of the operating system abandoned by Microsoft several years ago. Even though Windows XP has seen its fair share of security updates, the OS remains flawed and will receive no further updates. This is like music to the ears of criminals, who will look to poke holes in healthcare organizations’ security measures.

Now is the time to undertake action and solve these problems once and for all. Doing so is far easier said than done, though, as the legacy systems used in healthcare have issues working with newer versions of Windows. Switching to Linux is an option, but it would require large-scale training to get people up to speed regarding this new OS.

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