Just last month, a large Melbourne hospital was left in disarray after a virus wreaked havoc on its XP machines.

Staff at Melbourne Health, the network which runs the hospital, were urgently trying to fix the damage caused by a virus which infected their computers on the 18th of January.

An email sent to staff that afternoon confirmed that a virus had hit Melbourne Health’s pathology department, causing staff to manually process specimens such as blood, tissue and urine samples instead of computers aiding the registration, testing and entry of results.

The hospital has since reimaged all of its PCs running Windows XP after it was discovered that the bug that infected its systems is a variant of the Qbot or Qakbot worm, a known piece of malware that exploits a security vulnerability in XP.

Since Microsoft stopped supporting XP in April 2014, the company has not provided any technical assistance to businesses or consumers for Windows XP troubleshooting, or provided any security patches or updates for the operating system.

Not only can this be problematic when it comes to running certain programs and applications but the vulnerabilities which arise due to the lack of support, allow your systems to become easy targets for hackers and other security threats.

According to The Register, many hospitals are still running XP and have nothing but luck to thank for their virus-free status.

Device control is known to be absent in other hospitals in Victoria where staff can plug in their own USB sticks and phones, install software, and browse the web from kit connected to sensitive intranets.

As we stressed in an article written just a two months ago, there really are no excuses to be running a Server 2003 or XP system. If you would like to modernise your IT investment and increase reliability, give us a call on 1300 903 405.

Hayden McMaster