ATM upgrades call for users to be cautious

WICHITA, Kansas — Local banks are racing to upgrade their ATMs after Microsoft announces it will stop providing those machines with tech support.

Tech experts worry the outdated ATMs could open them up to cyber attacks that could put your money at risk.

“This is an excellent opportunity for hackers, right now,” said Alex Nivison, Computer Troubleshooters.

Nivison and other computer experts are urging anyone with Windows XP, including banks, to upgrade immediately.

“There are so many people that are unprotected, especially banks,” said Nivison.

On April 8th, Microsoft will stop tech support to Windows XP, leaving it vulnerable to hackers. The problem is, around 95 percent of the country’s bank ATMs run on Windows XP.

KSN reporter Felix Rodrigues Lima asked one bank customer, Mark Goagley if knowing that would keep him from using it.

“No, no it wouldn’t,” said Goagley.

Other customers we talked to are concerned.

“It does, but you know, a lot of times, I’ll just basically get cash when I go to the grocery store,” said Pamela Larkin, another bank customer.

“I don’t want them running on old technology and I don’t want to get hacked at the same time,” said Hannah Somerville.

“We have customer information well-protected,” responded Damon Ellsworth with Emprise Bank.

While larger banks like Chase have cut deals with Microsoft to keep protecting their ATMs, smaller banks like Emprise here in Wichita say they’re doing everything to protect customers while upgrading their 40 ATMs.

“Windows is only one component of a multi-layered security approach on our ATMs, so it’s just something we have well in hand,” said Ellsworth.

A representative from ATM manufacturer, NCR, tells KSN there is no set way to tell which ATMs have been upgraded. But as a good rule of thumb, if it’s an ATM that has the 8-button layout, chances are it has not been upgraded. However, if it is one with an interface that looks like a smartphone or tablet, chances are that is the upgraded version.

Consumer advocates say there are three easy and effective way to protect yourself from hackers.

1. Regularly change your pin
2. Monitor your bank statements for fraud
3. Withdraw cash directly from the bank teller

Upgrading the ATMs is a pricey challenge. To upgrade just one it can cost a bank anywhere from $1,000 to $3,500 and they have to be upgraded individually.

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