Met Police ‘putting data at risk’ by failing to move on from Windows XP

Tens of thousands of Metropolitan Police PCs are still running Windows XP, potentially putting Londoners’ information at risk, it has been claimed.

London Assembly member Andrew Boff has questioned why the Metropolitan Police is still using the out-of-date PCs, despite an IT modernisation programme.

According to Boff, the Met is currently running 27,000 computers on XP, and is supporting it with paid for security patches, as opposed to the free updates that supported software would get. Last year, a Freedom of Information request by the tech site Motherboard found 35,000 Met PCs ran XP.

Windows XP, introduced in 2001, is now so out of data that it does not even receive official security updates anymore. And, while Microsoft has been keen to chivvy users from Windows 7 and 8 to Windows 10, it only supports enterprise users of Windows XP on a case-by-case basis.

Boff said: “Operating systems age more like milk than wine, and Windows XP is well past its sell-by date.

“The Met should have stopped using Windows XP in 2014 when extended support ended, and to hear that 27,000 computers are still using it is worrying.”

Boff continued: “My major concern is the security of Londoners’ information on this dangerously out-of-date system, but I would also like to know how much money the Met have wasted on bespoke security updates.

“I also question the choice to upgrade to Windows 8.1; this is neither the newest version of Windows nor the most used version of the software. Staff are likely to be more familiar with Windows 10, but most importantly it will be supported further into the future.”

The assembly member is now calling on the Mayor of London to step in and ensure the force has a comprehensive plan in place to roll out updates.

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