MARITIME CYBER SESSIONS
Episode 1 – Windows 7
‘Windows 7 – still used on a large scale within the Maritime Industry’
Recently Statcounter* released statistics on the use of Microsoft Operating Systems (OS) in October 2022; Windows 10 is at the top with a 71%+ usage followed by the new Windows 11 at 15%+. However, Windows 7 is still third in line with almost 10% market share globally!
If we look at the Maritime Industry we do see some different numbers, although Windows 10 has the biggest share and is at 67%+ of the total install base.
Windows 7 is still installed on 25%+ of the machines followed by Windows 11 with 5%+ and Windows 8 less than 3%.
Meaning 1 out of every 4 machines is still using Windows 7!
As Microsoft is no longer supporting Windows 7 since 2020 and we are almost at the 3 year mark of NO security updates, it does not make sense to keep using this OS because of convenience or cost saving. The upgrade to Windows 10 is free, the system requirements for Windows 10 are almost identical to Windows 7 so why not upgrade? Ofcourse the upgrading of very old machines (over 6 years) will always introduce a more sluggish feeling even with a clean install but if your business PC’s are older than 6 years they should be replaced anyway.
IT: part of the core business in shipping
We have to face the fact that IT is part of the core business of a modern ship. Without their computers, doing an ENOAD is a pain, but also having the correct paperwork in port, a computer is needed. When a computer is needed for your daily operation it is part of your core business. So it should be managed like that as well. Trying to use computers of over 10 years old to do daily operations is a risk you should not be willing to take, just to save $800 of buying a new PC every 4 or 5 years.
When did Microsoft cease delivery Windows 7?
- Windows 7 sales / delivery was stopped for OEM (Original Equipment Supplier) Consumer on 31st of October 2014.
- Windows 7 sales / delivery was stopped for OEM Business on 31st of October 2016.
Meaning that on those dates OEMs where not able to sell a Windows 7 license anymore. If customers as per today still have Windows 7, this means that either they have a pre 2016 PC (7+ years old). Or they have installed an older OS without the intent to upgrade. Which is not the best option from a cybersecurity perspective. As Windows 7 is already 3 years old, upgrading it is highly recommended.
Windows 7 delays progress
In the Maritime Industry vendors are often held back by the systems their customers use; meaning that they need to develop new versions of their software for older Operating Systems as that is what their customers are using. This holds back the progress in development, but also limits the chance of a price decrease as it is more difficult to design for an older OS than for a new OS.
By not upgrading you lose on valuable features such as Bitlocker which increases your data security. But also compatibility with new programs gets more difficult. While on shore they uses the latest Microsoft Office package and on the vessel you don’t. This can result in the vessel not being able to open specific documents. When upgrading to a supported OS you will be entitled to receive security updates to protect your OS which should be one of the main concerns.