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ATMs should update their software as soon as possible

ATMs have software that should be updated regularly.

ATMs should stay as modern as possible, as they represent opportunities for customers to get cash. People like to get money as quickly and efficiently as possible, and it's in either a retailer's or a bank's best interest to keep their machines up to date. That includes using software that is still supported by its developers and vendors. With out-of-date programs, there's a higher likelihood that the machines will be vulnerable to attack. This can compromise the trust of customers and cause businesses to lose money, so it's always a good idea to keep things up to date.

End-of-line software support affects ATMs

Many ATMs run essentially on a bare-bones computer using the Microsoft Windows operating system. Internet connections are handled in different ways, but many of them use Microsoft Internet Explorer, which comes with Windows. Recently, Microsoft has been developing a new browser that is intended to replace IE named Edge. This will be incorporated into Windows 10, which was released in late July.

While Internet Explorer will remain supported by Microsoft, ATM Marketplace noted an alert by the ATM Industry Association that indicated that this support will soon be scaled back significantly. In a warning to its member banks and ISOs, the ATMIA noted that come Jan. 12, 2016, the only Internet Explorer that will be supported by Microsoft for Windows 7 and 8 installations is version 11. Given that many ATMs run on Windows 7 or earlier versions, this can easily affect hundreds of thousands of machines around the world.

In addition, the .NET framework, on which many ATM programs function, will also see a major cutback in support. On the same day that earlier-version IE support will end, Microsoft will cease supporting programs using the .NET framework for all versions except 3.5 Service Pack 1 and 4.5.2. These reductions in support are partly to transition businesses to Windows 10 and related services. Internet Explorer itself will end all support in the year 2020, when extended support for Windows 7 will be discontinued.

With this in mind, banks and retailers should take the time to review their ATMs and the software being used. It should be compared with what Microsoft is supporting. If they're not matching these specifications, updates should be completed. Without this support, security updates that can protect ATMs from hacking may not be deployed, which can have lasting ramifications. Businesses that use these machines should work closely with vendors to stay ahead.

September 1, 2015