Feds still paying for Windows XP custom support

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Feds still paying for Windows XP custom support

Coughing up fees out to 2017.

The federal government is still paying millions of dollars every year to keep agencies patched as they remain on the end-of-life Windows XP operating system.

Contracts published by the Department of Finance - which manages the procurement of Microsoft licences on behalf of the Commonwealth - reveals it paid $3.4 million for 15 months' worth of whole-of-government custom support for XP to cover agencies out to July 2017.

Finance has been publishing details of the payments it makes on behalf of government agencies, in roughly 12 month instalments, since June 2015. The total paid to stay on the out-of-date software over the last year comes to nearly $7 million.

Microsoft officially withdrew support for Windows XP in April 2014, meaning customers could no longer access free updates and patches.

But the latest Finance contract suggests the XP stragglers in the federal government will still be using the product more than three years after it went end of life, at the very least.

Last week, Finance paid an additional $1.7 million for whole-of-government SQL Server 2005 custom support for 15 months, after Microsoft ended support for the product earlier this month.

The agency paid another $214,000 to keep agencies using Internet Explorer 8, which went end of life in January.

Contract notices do not specify which federal government agencies are still using the product.

However, last year Finance inked an $11 million licensing deal to keep the Department of Defence, the Australian Taxation Office, the Department of Human Services and the Department of Immigration on Windows Server 2003.

It said any other agencies still using the software could sign up to the arrangement for no additional cost.

Federal government entities are required to adhere to the Australian Signals Directorate’s top four cyber mitigation strategies within their IT environments, including that they keep up to date with operating system patches.

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