While David “One is an Ordinary Bloke” Cameron is trying to save children from internet perils with censorship he is opening up government computer systems to hackers by starving them for cash on upgrades.
Countless government computers are still using Windows XP under a £5.5 million contract with Microsoft to prevent them getting hacked. Now it seems that Cameron’s government has decided that it is too expensive to keep paying Microsoft for the upgrades and simply hopes that no hackers will attack the systems.
This is the first time that prayer based security has been attempted in Whitehall and is being seen as cheaper than upgrading the ancient computers.
The government has not renewed its £5.5 million Windows XP support deal with Microsoft despite thousands of computers across Whitehall still running the ancient software, leaving them wide open to cyber-attacks.
The contract was negotiated last year between Microsoft and the Crown Commercial Service (CCS), which is part of the Cabinet Office, to provide one year’s additional support after the general support deadline for XP expired.
To be fair, the CCS made it plain at the time that it would not renew the deal, and urged all departments to ensure that they migrated in time.
Of course they didn’t and many government departments are still in the process of migrating, or are still running Windows XP and risking the inherent security threats.
No one is able to talk about it because everything is shut down with the election. Microsoft has confirmed that the deal will end on 14 April 2015.
Microsoft will not offer more custom support deals, and the company said that this might be an option for any department still struggling to migrate. It will just have to be for the new government to decide.
The Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) is currently negotiating a support deal after it was revealed that the organisation still has 35,000 laptops and desktops running XP.
What this suggests is that for all Cameron’s banging on about internet security, and protection, under his watch the security at Whitehall has dropped down the loo, just as his surveillance of ordinary citizens and internet censorship has escalated.