The U.S. Navy has commissioned Microsoft to extend support for its suite of Windows XP applications from 2003, for which the company had discontinued service last year. IDG news has more information on the arrangement:
The Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command, which runs the Navy’s communications and information networks, signed a $9.1 million contract earlier this month for continued access to security patches for Windows XP, Office 2003, Exchange 2003 and Windows Server 2003.
The entire contract could be worth up to $30.8 million and extend into 2017.
The situation isn’t unique among our most important government operations—the IRS, for example, has just begun its migration from XP to 2009’s Windows 7—many of which still run on obsolete systems. Without the extended support from Microsoft, the Navy’s systems would be “more susceptible to intrusion … and could lead to loss of data integrity, network performance and the inability to meet mission readiness of critical networks.” Following a year that saw unprecedented growth in data-related hacks, it is alarming that a pillar of our national defense complex is lagging so far in the past. As we pointed out at the new year, the web-based threats loom ever-more dangerously, even as we store more of our lives online.
Much of the rise in cyber-related crime is attributable to the multiplication of our internet usage and our penchant for monitoring and storing everything we do. Still, the Obama administration, which has endured its own fair share of tech-gafs, is not blameless. At a moment when the Director of National Intelligence has deemed cyber terrorism the largest threat facing our country, it is essential that our government be proactive in maintaining and improving our virtual security apparatuses. Stories like this show just how high the mountain still is to climb.