Craig Timberg and Ellen Nakashima
Washington Post
March 17, 2014

Hundreds of thousands of gov't machines soon to be running outdated software unusually vulnerable to hackers. / Photo by Vibrant Spirit, via Flickr
Hundreds of thousands of gov’t machines soon to be running outdated software unusually vulnerable to hackers. / Photo by Vibrant Spirit, via Flickr
The deadline for installing secure operating systems on federal government computers will pass next month with the job incomplete, leaving hundreds of thousands of machines running outdated software and unusually vulnerable to hackers.

Federal officials have known for more than six years that Microsoft will withdraw its free support for Windows XP on April 8, 2014. Despite a recent rush to complete upgrades, an estimated 10 percent of government computers — out of several million — will still be running the operating system on that date, company officials said.

That includes thousands of computers on classified military and diplomatic networks, U.S. officials said. Such networks have stronger defenses generally but hold more sensitive material, raising the stakes for breaches if they occur.

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