Windows XP no longer receives official security updates, leaving Londoners’ information at risk

The Metropolitan Police needs to accelerate the updating of its computer systems or risk Londoners’ information, says London Assembly Member Andrew Boff.

Currently 27,000 Met computers run Windows XP, first launched in 2001. The 14 year-old operating system has been without official support for over two years leaving it seriously vulnerable to hackers. The Metropolitan Police are currently forced to pay for security patches instead of receiving free updates with more-current software.

Since 2015 the Met have only upgraded 8,000 desktops to a newer system, and are set to upgrade another 6,000 by September.

Andrew Boff, GLA Conservative Londonwide Assembly Member, 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.

“My major concern is the security of Londoners’ information on this dangerously out-of-date system, but I would also like to know how much money the Met have wasted on bespoke security updates.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

Recently the Dutch government paid £1.4 million to Microsoft to continue security patches for Windows XP. It is assumed the Metropolitan police will be incurring similar costs for continued service to Windows XP.

Assembly Member Boff is urging the Mayor to revaluate the Metropolitan Polices upgrade schedule and have a better plan for future updates.