Banks will cover XP internet banking

TOM PULLAR-STRECKER
Last updated 09:03 10/03/2014
kirk hope
Kirk Hope is the chief executive of the New Zealand Bankers' Association.

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People who access internet banking on computers running Windows XP will continue to be covered if their accounts are hacked, after Microsoft stops supporting the operating system next month, banks have decided.

Microsoft will stop fixing security holes in XP from April 8 and is warning computer users to dump the operating system before hackers move in to take advantage.

Bankers Association chief executive Kirk Hope said banks always recommended people protected themselves from online fraud by keeping their operating systems and security software up-to-date.

But Windows XP users would still be covered for any unauthorised transactions on their accounts "as long as they have complied with their internet banking terms and conditions", he said. The association represents all New Zealand's major banks.

The voluntary Code of Banking Practice adopted by banks in 2012 says banks will reimburse customers for online fraud losses, but one of the conditions is customers only bank from devices that they believe have a "reasonably up-to-date operating system".

That had appeared to raise a question-mark over whether people could still use XP machines for internet banking without assuming liability if their accounts were compromised.

Microsoft estimates there are 165,000 home computers and another 135,000 business computers in New Zealand that still run XP. From Saturday a monthly message began flashing-up on the screens of those computers, warning support was about to be withdrawn.

Microsoft New Zealand marketing director Frazer Scott said the heightened risk of malware could result in more banking transactions being compromised.

Ironically, most of the world's ATM machines that dispense billions in cash each day will continue to run XP beyond April according to overseas reports.

Some, though not all, use special "embedded" versions of the 12-year old operating system which Microsoft will continue to support until 2016.

The Bankers Association was unable to confirm how many ATMs in New Zealand ran XP but Hope promised banks had "known about the changes to Windows XP for some time and there will be no impact".

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- Fairfax Media

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