Monday, March 10, 2014

FYI


Monday morning this tidbit  from an email  news service appeared on my computer. I am posting it because it is worrisome and may affect other  segments of our existence.



“Microsoft Corp. long ago announced it would stop supporting the Windows XP operating system in April 2014. No support means no software upgrades to patch newly discovered vulnerabilities. But XP is still the dominant OS underpinning management systems that run U.S. utilities. Hackers could use vulnerabilities to introduce malware, causing operators working in control centers to misinterpret data and disrupting operations, Michael Assante, industrial control systems lead for SANS Institute, tells CIO Journal.
One of the reasons XP is still predominant in the industry is that it could cost a utility more than $100 million and several years of work to upgrade an outdated system. Contractual obligations is another reason. In most cases, software vendors have included clauses in contracts that would void the warranties if utilities try to upgrade the operating system themselves, said Patrick C. Miller, founder of the nonprofit Energy Sector Security Consortium and a managing partner at The Anfield Group, a security consulting firm.
Often forgotten in the era of cloud, legacy systems present challenges across industries which have required a high degree of customization and the use of proprietary software, making it that much harder for established companies to compete with start-ups.’

It illustrates one of the ignored  dangers of our reliance on electronic records and instruments of every day life. Microsoft believes in planned obsolescence so products must be  repurchased with the newer model. 

I recently ran into a similar problem with an data base program that I had been using for perhaps 2 to 3 decades but the newer operating systems  refuse to recognize it and the present edition can't transfer information. The program Filemaker was not a Microsoft product when I started using it but now is owned by Microsoft.

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