Microsoft Windows XP Spotted Aboard the U.K.’s Newest War Ship

Jun 28, 2017

A state-of-the-art British aircraft carrier on its maiden journey apparently has some computers onboard running Windows XP—an aged version of Microsoft's PC operating system.

The Guardian spotted what appeared to be XP screens running aboard the HMS Queen Elizabeth, which launched Monday from the Rosyth shipyard in Scotland.

This is not an academic matter. Old versions of software are notoriously vulnerable to cyber attacks. The WannaCry ransomware cyberattack, which took down the U.K.'s National Health Service and other organizations last month, targeted machines running various older versions of Windows.

Related: Everything You Need to Know About the Latest Ransomware Attack

And XP is indeed old. It debuted in 2001, and Microsoft (msft) stopped issuing updates and fixes for it in April 2014. The company made an exception to that rule when it posted a security update to the software in response to the WannaCry attack.

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The $4.5 billion aircraft carrier, which accommodates a crew of 1,000 and up to 40 aircraft, is the latest and greatest of Royal Navy's fleet.

Related: Microsoft Patches Older Versions of Windows

Reached for comment, a U.K. Ministry of Defense spokesman said via email that while the ministry does not comment on specific systems on its ships, it has "absolute confidence in the security we have in place to keep the Royal Navy’s largest and most powerful ship safe and secure. We take cyber security extremely seriously and the UK has doubled its cyber investment to £1.9 billion."

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