ICS-CERT: Windows XP Support End of Life

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Infosec Island Admin

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Extended support for the Microsoft Windows XP Service Pack 3 is scheduled to end on April 8, 2014, according to the Windows Lifecycle Fact Sheet released by Microsoft.

Impacted organizations have only 12 months to decide whether to migrate their XP SP3 systems or to plan on upgrading them to a supported Windows operating system.

Areas of Concern for Industrial Control Systems

• Industrial control system vendors and integrators, however, do not always incorporate Windows life cycle support into their ICS development life cycle and support plans. ICSCERT has identified three technology deployment areas ICS teams should evaluate when considering how to address the upcoming EOL of XP SP3 across ICS environments. ICS applications installed on Windows XP SP3 operating system builds on standard IT equipment, including engineering workstations, HMI servers, historian systems, etc.

• ICS applications that require a specific Microsoft browser version that may no longer be supported or available except as part of an XP SP3 installation.

• ICS devices with embedded XP or Windows CE operating systems such as PLCs or RTUs.

Understanding the Windows Support Life Cycle

ICS support teams, vendors, and integrators need to understand the Microsoft Support Lifecycle and how it impacts application life-cycle management or system administrative support. By understanding the product support available, customers can better maximize the management of IT investments and make strategic plans for future IT needs.

New operating systems are adopted more slowly by ICS vendors and integrators than even the most risk-averse IT teams, because the ICS vendors must update their software for deployment on the new platform, identify any potential area of availability or integrity concerns, and resolve any functional or stability issues that may arise.

What Extended Support Entails

Extended support, the phase in which XP SP3 currently resides, is the second portion of the Windows Product Support Lifecycle. The key differences between mainstream and extended support are that the free support options are no longer available and that Microsoft no longer provides new, nonsecurity hotfixes.

Product End of Life

Because XP SP3 is scheduled to move into end of life in April 2014, anyone using or providing software dependent on the platform should begin planning to move to a supported operating system as soon as possible.

Source:  http://www.us-cert.gov/control_systems/pdf/ICS-CERT_Monthly_Monitor_May_2012.pdf

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