Microsoft will continue to provide some Windows 7 machines with security updates beyond the January 2020 end-of-support date, and voting systems are among them, the company has announced.
As part of its normal update schedule, Microsoft will no longer be delivering security updates for Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 systems on January 14, 2020. However, it will provide these updates for clients who pay for extended security support.
However, voting systems running Windows 7 will continue to be provided free of charge by the 2020 elections, the firm announced recently. These security patches will be given to federally licensed voting systems as part of Microsoft’s Defending Democracy Program.
Microsoft thinks that the software developed for that age lacks the safety levels that contemporary operating systems can provide. Windows 7 is already ten years old. The tech giant also claims it has delivered 10 years of support for Windows 7, and most of its clients have already migrated to Windows 10.
“As we move into the 2020 election, we understand that Windows 7 operates with a comparatively tiny but still large amount of licensed voting machines. We also understand that it may not be feasible to transition to computers with newer operating systems on time for 2020, “states Microsoft.
The long voting machine certification process can not be upgraded as soon as possible for the 2020 elections.
Extended safety updates are supplied free of charge to Windows 7 licensed federal voting systems by the end of 2020, claims Microsoft. The firm also works with producers to effectively deliver safety updates to its Windows 7 voting machines.
The updates will be available “in the United States and other democratic countries as defined by the EIU Democrats Index, which holds and expresses interest in national elections in 2020,” says the company.
In order to protect political campaigns, political party, electoral community and democratic NGOs, the Defending Democracy Program of Microsoft offers instruments such as the AccountGuard Service (free and open source) and ElectionGuard.
Now Microsoft “proactively identifies and engages Microsoft Azure’s election officials to provide advice and technical support for the most up-to-date safety functions in Azure.”