Microsoft extends Windows 7 updates through 2020 for election systems

Microsoft announced today that it will offer extended Windows 7 support for free for electoral systems in 2020. The measure will ensure that these systems are protected from major security vulnerabilities beyond the end of life. Windows 7 on January 14 when the United States enters an election year.

"As we approach the 2020 elections, we know that there is a relatively small but still significant number of certified voting machines running in Windows 7," Microsoft said in a blog post announcing the plan. "We also know that the transition to machines running newer operating systems in time for the 2020 elections may not be possible for several reasons, including the long voting machine certification process, a process in which we are working with government officials. to update and streamline. "

Microsoft says the extension, a part of its larger" Democracy Defense Program, "will provide free updates to" federally certified voting systems running Windows 7 "until the end of 2020 This applies to both the United States and "other democratic countries, as defined in the EIU Democracy Index."

Beyond extending security updates, Microsoft plans to provide assistance for electoral systems that rely on Azure. "We also announce today that, as part of the Democracy Defense Program, we are proactively identifying and engaging electoral authorities that are Microsoft Azure clients to provide guidance and technical assistance in the use of the most advanced security functions in Azure. "

As of January 14, 2020, Windows 7 will no longer receive security updates. Companies that use Windows 7 can pay for extended security updates, but Microsoft urges all users to upgrade to Windows 10. Despite this, a third-party security group announced its intention to provide unofficial micro-patches for Windows 7 machines after the end of -life date.

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