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Greater Manchester Police has revealed that more than one in five of its computers were still running on the unsupported Windows XP system.
Microsoft ended nearly all support for the operating system in 2014, meaning that the continued use of the programmes carry an increased hacking risk.
The figures, revealed to the BBC through a wider Freedom of Information request, show that 20.3 per cent of PCs ran the ageing operating system, totalling 1,518 machines.
Greater Manchester Police, the second largest police force in the UK, has since said that it was ‘continually’ reducing its reliance on XP. Interestingly, the largest police force, London’s Metropolitan Police Service were among the forces that refused to share an up-to-date figure with the BBC.
Dr Steven Murdoch, a cyber-security expert at University College London, said: “Even if security vulnerabilities are identified in XP, Microsoft won't distribute patches in the same way it does for later releases of Windows. So, if the Windows XP computers are exposed to the public internet, then that would be a serious concern. If they are isolated, that would be less of a worry - but the problem is still that if something gets into a secure network, it might then spread. That is what happened in the NHS with the recent Wannacry outbreak."