The end of technical support for computers running Microsoft’s “Windows 7” operating system may affect the upcoming elections.
An analysis by The Associated Press has found that the vast majority of the nation’s 10,000 election jurisdictions will be managing their elections on Windows 7 or even older operating systems.
That’s significant because Windows 7 reaches its “end of life” next January 14th, meaning Microsoft stops providing technical support and producing “patches” to fix software vulnerabilities, which hackers can exploit.
In a statement to the AP, Microsoft says it will offer continued Windows 7 security updates for a fee through 2023.
It’s unclear whether that often hefty expense would be paid by vendors operating on razor-thin profit margins or cash-strapped jurisdictions.
It’s also uncertain if a system running on Windows 10, which has more security features, can be rolled out by primary season.