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  1. Windows 95 still powering Pentagon PCs The United States Department of Defense is now migrating to Windows 10 as part of a broader effort announced in collaboration with Microsoft, and the transition to the new operating system is projected to be finalized in the fall of this year. In the meantime, however, there are lots of computers operated by the Pentagon that are still running older Windows versions, and according to officials, some are even powered by Windows 95 or 98. Speaking about Pentagon’s efforts to boost security of its systems, Daryl Haegley, program manager for the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Energy, Installations and Environment, has revealed that many of the critical computers are currently powered by unsupported Windows versions, including not only Windows XP (which is no longer getting updates since April 2014) but also releases that are more than 20 years old. “About 75 percent of the devices that are control systems are on Windows XP or other nonsupported operating systems,” he said, adding that these stats were collected after visits to different 15 military sites. Don’t worry, be happy Haegley says there’s no reason to worry, though, adding that all these computers do not have an Internet connection, so they are harder to hack. This isn’t impossible, though, especially if these systems are part of larger networks where other computers are connected to the web. “A lot of these systems are still Windows 95 or 98, and that’s OK—if they’re not connected to the internet,” Haegley explained. DefenseOne says that systems running Windows 95 or 98 feature sensors that connect to the Internet anyway, so they’re more or less vulnerable to attacks, and running old operating systems certainly doesn’t help. In the end, Haegley calls for the US DoD to expand its bug bounty programs and call for security researchers to look for vulnerabilities not only in its websites but also in critical systems that could be exposed to cyberattacks launched by other states. Source
  2. US DoD is moving 4 million PCs to Windows 10 The United States Department of Defense has signed a partnership with Microsoft to upgrade no less than 4 million computers to Windows 10, but it turns out that the Redmond-based software giant is close to scoring another important win. The Pentagon’s Joint Regional Security Stacks wants to increase adoption of Windows 10 and Azure cloud services, with the goal of bringing no less than 90 percent of the systems in its network on Microsoft’s most recent desktop operating system. Former DOD Chief Information Officer Terry Halvorsen has recently explained that the goal is now to cut the physical server footprint, so investing more in cloud services seems to be the logical step to take. At the same time, he revealed that the DoD wants to switch to commercial solutions rather than stick with software developed for the government that is losing support very fast and costs more. “It’s the first time we have done all this with completely off-the-shelf equipment. That’s a big culture change that I think will sustain,” Halvorsen said. “Let’s start moving at the speed industry can move.” Windows 10 recently received NSA’s certification Microsoft recently announced at the RSA conference that Windows 10 and Surface devices had been cleared by the NSA for classified use, with the company obviously using this occasion to praise the security features that the two products come with. “Both Windows 10 and Surface devices including Surface Pro 3, Surface Pro 4 and Surface Book have been added to the NSA’s Commercial Solutions for Classified Programs (CSfC) list. The CSfC program listing demonstrates Windows 10, as well as Surface devices (the only Windows 10 devices currently on the list), when used in a layered solution, can meet the highest security requirements for use in classified environments,” Microsoft announced. The US DoD is projected to complete the migration to Windows 10 on its 4 million computers by the end of this year, with all departments currently transitioning to the new OS after hitting some roadblocks like app compatibility issues and hardware limitations. Source
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