20% of Manchester police rely on Windows XP

Greater Manchester Police told the BBC that 1,518 of its PCs ran the ageing and vulnerable operating system - 20.3% of all the office computers it used.

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. Much of the UK's public sector is facing cutbacks and has therefore neglected its IT infrastructure - the NHS, too, was running Windows XP when it became the target of a massive attack earlier this year.

Most police forces didn't want to reveal information about their computers and said it was because of security concerns.

London's Metropolitan Police Service did not want to share an up-to-date figure with the BBC. Back in June, Met Police had also confirmed that they had 18,000 Windows XP machines and just 8 devices were powered by Windows 10.

Luckily, a spokesperson for the Greater Manchester Police was able to confirm that the body was continually reducing its reliance on the old operating system and that the existing machines were running specialised applications making it hard to migrate.

"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 fact that Microsoft issued emergency updates for XP and other unsupported systems in response to the WannaCry outbreak shouldn't lure organisations into a false sense of security: "there's no guarantee that this would happen for future attacks".

'"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". The company ended all official support for Windows XP in 2014 and any viruses, malware or exploits discovered by hackers since then have been left unpatched and pose a serious security risk.

Clothier adds that organisations using legacy systems should take advantage of readily available solutions based on container technology that offer a solution without the need for expensive, time consuming software re-writes. According to a survey conducted by the firm, 33% of Brits are anxious that the police could be singled out for attack by hackers, ahead of other critical public services and infrastructure.

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