How Many Patients Will Die Along with Windows XP?

According to NetMarketShare (http://www.netmarketshare.com/operating-system-market-share.aspx?qprid=10&qpcustomd=0) at the end of February, 2014, 30% of all PC users were running Windows XP. Over the past year I’ve been working closely with a huge medical devices group. Don’t have a heart attack (especially if you have a pacemaker running on XP), but based upon what I’ve learned during that time, I anticipate the percentage of medical devices running on XP is a greater percentage than this. Several months ago many of the medical device manufacturers indicated they also use embedded XP for the GUIs to devices as well as to provide a link to external databases (containing vital medical data collected and used by the devices). Why?

– Because when they were created Microsoft had promised to support Embedded XP for “many more years.”

– Embedded XP configurations were considered to make it difficult for a wide range of viruses to affect the medical device.

– A large portion of medical devices were coded with C#/.Net, and there was often legacy C++ code that they wanted to continue using on XP.

Also, a large number of medical devices have very long life spans: 10 – 20 years is not uncommon, and makes sense when you think about how they are used. Many devices were created during the time that Windows XP was the newest OS available.

So, the discontinued support of XP will mean that XP medical devices will no longer receive security patches to protect them from viruses, spyware and other malware, and there will no longer be technical support available from Microsoft for these devices.

via How Many Patients Will Die Along with Windows XP?.

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