National Insecurity? Navy Still Using Windows XP
It has been widely reported that the Navy is insisting on using Windows XP, but what cannot be talked about enough are the security implications of this.
Windows XP was notoriously insecure even when it was in normal usage, but now that it’s ancient, the details on how to hack into an XP network are easy to get. Worse, the Navy insists on keeping this system even as this is public knowledge. It would take time and money, but an upgrade to either a newer version of Windows or to some Linux or other open-source option would make things vastly more secure for the sections of the Navy that are subjected to this policy.
Now, there will always be those who argue that it’s mostly the behavior of users that influences the security of a given network. This could be true, but there are exploits on XP systems which just aren’t possible on newer systems, or on Linux.
Sticking with XP for any reason is a monumentally bad idea, in any case, even if you can’t, for some reason, switch over to Linux, then you should update to a newer version of Windows, even 7 would be better. There is simply no good justification for going with such an old operating system. You are the naval force of the most powerful nation in the world. You should, across the board, be using the most updated software on all of your systems. If cost is an issue, then use something that is free, which there are such alternatives out there.
There are secure alternatives available that wouldn’t cost anything for the Navy to use. They may have to pay to have some of their computer guys learn to use the software and code for it, but other than that, they’d from thereafter get free updates and so on. That’s just the way it works with open source software. Not to mention that every computer would now be secure and receiving regular updates. Thus Linux is always an option, but they never seem to consider it, for whatever reason. They’d rather stick with an ancient, insecure version of Windows.
There seems no other good reason to stick with an old operating system, although it was reported that Microsoft would make some money supporting the Navy in this endeavor. All of that is rather ridiculous. There are such better alternatives to this, for less money, in the end. But that doesn’t seem to matter to the Navy. The Navy seems settled in its decision to run with an old version of Windows, and the whole thing seems ridiculous.