Greater Manchester Police (GMP) is still using the aged XP operating system on loads of its PCs (that’s personal computers, not police constables).
Released in 2001, Microsoft stopped supporting XP in 2014 yet poor old GMP is still running it on over 1,500 machines, about 20% of all its PCs – which most people who know about these things would tell you is a security risk.
Dr Steven Murdoch, a cyber-security bigwig at University College London, said: ‘Even if security vulnerabilities are identified in XP, Microsoft won’t distribute patches in the same way it does for later releases of Windows.’
GMP is aware of the risk and is trying to upgrade its operating systems. A spokesperson 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. 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.’
The revelation came about as part of a wider freedom of information request, which, interestingly, London Metropolitan Police Service refused to respond to, citing security issues. Back in June, a staggering 10,000 of its PCs were running XP, so it’s probably reasonable to assume that at least a few of its computers are still running the dated system.
Still, on balance they are probably better off than those stuck with Vista.