HMS Queen Elizabeth Vulnerable to Cyber-Attacks Because of Outdated Windows XP

According to some reports, it seems like Great Britain’s largest warship in history could be vulnerable to cyber-attacks. The reason for this could be the fact that it’s running the very old and outdated Microsoft Windows XP operating system. On Monday, the HMS Queen Elizabeth warship left its dockyard for the very first time to begin the sea trials. However, at the same time, it was revealed that the 3.5 billion-pound carrier is supposedly still using the very same operating system which also left the NHS vulnerable, the Microsoft Windows XP.

HMS Queen Elizabeth is vulnerable

The same report is stating that the biggest ship of the Royal Navy had the computers in the control room running on Microsoft Windows XP. This has a copyright dating from back in 1985 until 2001. Interestingly enough, this is the very same operating system which allowed last month’s WannaCry ransomware attack to affect not only the NHS, but many other organizations from all over the world. Reports were saying that the cyber-attack affected about 300,000 computers in 150 countries. The problem with Windows XP is that Microsoft no longer supports it. This means that it doesn’t receive any updates which could protect the users from various cyber-attacks.

According to Alan Woodward, professor of computing at the University of Surrey, if the vessel still uses the Windows XP for operational use, it’s a huge mistake that might attract serious consequences. It’s a terrible and ignorant move to put this outdated system on a new ship. Moreover, one that supposedly has a lifetime of decades. According to another defense source,  the on-board hardware and software would have been considered advanced back in 2004. The ship was indeed designed that year. But this doesn’t mean that the equipment should be that old too.

It will have new equipment in ten years

However, the same source stated that the ship will most probably have a new set of modern equipment in ten years. Senior officers said that cyber specialists will always be n board to protect the ship from cyber-attacks. According to reports, sailor and engineers have been working non-stop to get the vessel ready. About 1,000 sailors and contractors will be on board for its first six weeks of testing.

Image source: flickr

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