This week it was suggested that 90 per cent of NHS trusts in the UK were using Windows XP – a 16-year-old operating system. Security experts said that computers using operating software introduced before 2007 were particularly vulnerable, leaving many NHS systems at risk.
Not, perhaps, that they should be using it, but that they are.
As with the London Hydraulic Power Company which was still powering a factory or two into the 1960s (they transmitted power around using tubes filled with compressed something or other), there’s a hell of a lot of ballast in an economy. The leading edge might change quickly but the whole of it can take up to a century to shift.
Ross Anderson, professor of security engineering at Cambridge University’s computer lab, said the incident is the “sort of thing for which the secretary of state should get roasted in Parliament.
“If large numbers of NHS organisations failed to act on a critical notice from Microsoft two months ago, then whose fault is that?” Mr Anderson told The Guardian.
And ain’t that just the problem with the political control of something? Even patching the P~Cs becomes a political matter.