Government agencies continue to spend millions on Windows 7 support
Australian government agencies are spending up to $8.7 million on security updates for their current IT systems, many of which are still running Microsoft’s Windows 7 and Server 2008 operating systems, which reached their end-of-life in January this year.
The Department of Defence, the Australian Taxation Office and the Australian Securities and Investments Commission recently signed contracts with the government’s exclusive Microsoft licence reseller, Data#3, to extend support until at least 2021.
Although the Department of Defence already migrated 105,000 devices from Windows XP to Windows 10 last year, full migration is still a work in progress. The ATO’s contract covers all devices running Windows 7 at the agency and is also in the process of migrating to Windows 10. The ATO purchased 12,000 new Dell devices last year which it intends to roll out between 2019 and 2022.
The Australian Cyber Security Centre warned that failing to upgrade to a newer operating system would put users at risk and through “unpatched security vulnerabilities”.
Though upgrading the IT systems of such large government entities is a massive undertaking, it is absolutely critical to do so given the sensitive nature of the data they deal with and the escalating risks of cyberattacks. We’ve discussed the vulnerability of Australia’s infrastructure before, and with the rise of ransomware and the growing sophistication of cyber attacks, we need to take some serious measures to ensure the security and resilience of our digital infrastructure.