Given that the weakness that has been exploited in the NHS computer systems in the recent malware attack is the fact they are using 7 years out of date, un-protected, un-updated Windows XP operating systems for their computers, we as citizens must ask:
“What other vital British digital infrastructure is using such arcane software?”
Turns out the UK’s entire Trident Nuclear arsenal is also operating on 7 year old, un-protected, un-updated Windows XP operating systems.
The recent hack on Windows XP computers in the NHS proves that arsenal is not safe. Why? Well, apart from being a commercial system, open to anyone from the public, Windows XP no longer gets updates and support from Microsoft, which is why such old systems are so vulnerable to hacking and malware attacks.
Since the proxy conflicts in the Middle East between the Major Powers in the region, as well as the South China Sea’s U.S. Navy/ Chinese Island building stand off, there are increasing tensions in Global politics which have raised the likelihood of a nuclear strike.
Windows XP was installed on computers of the Trident Nuclear Missile systems in 2008. These computers, to this day, run the HMS Vanguard, Victorious, Vigilant, and Vengeance, which carry 8 world ending Trident II missiles. Together they form the UK’s entire nuclear arsenal.
The fact that under 7 years of Tory rule the NHS is still using out of date software for the British Public’s NHS computer systems, which contain medical records, appointments & private data which are open to attack by malware through malfeasance is bad enough.
The fact that one of Microsoft’s oldest operating systems is still used to run the UK’s 4 nuclear submarines, in light of the recent attack on the same software in the NHS, is absolutely terrifying.
“HOW CAN THIS BE AN INDEPENDENT NUCLEAR DETERRENT IF DONALD J. TRUMP, THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA—A MAN WHO IS AS THICK AS TWO SHORT PLANKS—IS GIVEN THE INFORMATION, BUT NOBODY ON THE OPPOSITION BENCHES IS ALLOWED TO SEE IT?” – DENNIS SKINNER THE LABOUR PARTY
There is no more clear example of the rank dangerous incompetence at the heart of the Tory Party. Let the market fix it? We must save money? These are the cheap and nasty urges that put the British Public in danger. The Ministry of Defence will, no doubt, say the computers are likely air-gapped (not connected to the internet, ever), and reassure the public that everything is OK.
Air-gapping didn’t protect the Iranian centrifuges also running Windows XP from the Stuxnet virus, transferred using infected USB keys.
We were warned in 2013 about how dangerously over reliant on windows XP the UK’s IT infrastructure was. EHI Intelligence estimated in 2013 that 85% of the 800,000 PCs in the NHS alone were still running on XP, forcing the UK government to pay £5.5 million to Microsoft to extend support a further year to 2015.
With even Microsoft having said Windows XP is not safe, why on earth have the Tories continued to have our critical digital infrastructure in the NHS & Trident running on dangerously old and out of date operating systems?
Trident renewal will cost £200 billion. The NHS deficit is £2.5 billion. If we are to spend on the first and cut the second, at the very least we should, in the 21st century, ensure that the computers we use for both are fit for purpose.