London's Met Police has missed the Windows XP escape deadline

27,000 PCs still compute like it's 2001


London’s Metropolitan Police has missed its deadline to dump Windows XP, with tens of thousands of copper still running the risky OS.

The force, on the front line against terrorist threats and criminals in the capital city, is running Windows XP on around 27,000 PCs.

At last count, in May 2015, the Met had a total of 35,640 PCs, with 34,920 of them running XP. Policemen set themselves a deadline of March 2016 to finish migrating to Windows 8.1.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan, however, has apparently now revealed that just 8,000 of the force’s PCs have moved to Windows 8.1 since last September. The target is for another 6,000 by the end of September 2016.

Khan provided the update in response to a question from Conservative Greater London Assembly member Andrew Boff.

The Labour mayor told Boff in a written statement:

“The MPS [Metropolitan Police Service] are developing further plans to address the outstanding XP desktops including reducing the overall number and disposing of equipment that cannot support Windows 8.1.”

Boff expressed concern over the fact data and information belonging to, and about, Londoners is being processed by PCs running the ancient OS.

Microsoft stopped delivering security updates and bug fixes for Windows XP in April 2014. That means Windows XP users still running the 15-year-old operating system after that date are on their own against new forms of malware and viruses.

Only those who pay Microsoft for a special Custom Support Agreement get to enjoy continued support. The Met had paid Microsoft for a CSA back in 2014.

The Met was to move off Windows XP under its Next Generation Desktop programme, which started in January 2015 and was to be completed in March this year, according to the force’s response to a FoI request lodged by The Register in 2015.

It’s clearly missed that date.

Boff challenged the wisdom of sticking to the Windows 8.1 migration, given Microsoft has since superseded this with Windows 10. It’s a rarity for enterprises and governments to have moved from Windows XP to Windows 8.1 – if anything, organisations went to Windows 7.

Gary Schare, president of Browser management expert Browsium, who has worked with some big UK government departments, told The Register: “There were very few who went to Windows 8 as an enterprise.”

Share also reckoned the Met is not alone in continuing to employ Windows XP on such a vast scale. He reckoned on a long tail for Windows XP, with some still running on tens of thousands at workplaces across the UK.

“We’ve come across a number of large organisations often in government where there’s some big pockets of XP. Often you see a major department in a large bank that never got off XP but other departments did,” Share said.

The Metropolitan Police did not respond to Register questions by the time of writing. ®

Similar topics


Other stories you might like

  • Experts: AI should be recognized as inventors in patent law
    Plus: Police release deepfake of murdered teen in cold case, and more

    In-brief Governments around the world should pass intellectual property laws that grant rights to AI systems, two academics at the University of New South Wales in Australia argued.

    Alexandra George, and Toby Walsh, professors of law and AI, respectively, believe failing to recognize machines as inventors could have long-lasting impacts on economies and societies. 

    "If courts and governments decide that AI-made inventions cannot be patented, the implications could be huge," they wrote in a comment article published in Nature. "Funders and businesses would be less incentivized to pursue useful research using AI inventors when a return on their investment could be limited. Society could miss out on the development of worthwhile and life-saving inventions."

    Continue reading
  • Declassified and released: More secret files on US govt's emergency doomsday powers
    Nuke incoming? Quick break out the plans for rationing, censorship, property seizures, and more

    More papers describing the orders and messages the US President can issue in the event of apocalyptic crises, such as a devastating nuclear attack, have been declassified and released for all to see.

    These government files are part of a larger collection of records that discuss the nature, reach, and use of secret Presidential Emergency Action Documents: these are executive orders, announcements, and statements to Congress that are all ready to sign and send out as soon as a doomsday scenario occurs. PEADs are supposed to give America's commander-in-chief immediate extraordinary powers to overcome extraordinary events.

    PEADs have never been declassified or revealed before. They remain hush-hush, and their exact details are not publicly known.

    Continue reading
  • Stolen university credentials up for sale by Russian crooks, FBI warns
    Forget dark-web souks, thousands of these are already being traded on public bazaars

    Russian crooks are selling network credentials and virtual private network access for a "multitude" of US universities and colleges on criminal marketplaces, according to the FBI.

    According to a warning issued on Thursday, these stolen credentials sell for thousands of dollars on both dark web and public internet forums, and could lead to subsequent cyberattacks against individual employees or the schools themselves.

    "The exposure of usernames and passwords can lead to brute force credential stuffing computer network attacks, whereby attackers attempt logins across various internet sites or exploit them for subsequent cyber attacks as criminal actors take advantage of users recycling the same credentials across multiple accounts, internet sites, and services," the Feds' alert [PDF] said.

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022