While the infamous blue screen of death may haunt many desktop computer users, the banking industry and security experts dismiss the fear that someone will break into Windows-powered ATMs to empty bank accounts. For one, the ATMs will use a stripped-down version of Windows NT that is quite different from the software on desktop computers.
“What Microsoft actually sells to the banks for ATM use is a cut-down version of Windows that doesn’t contain things like Web servers,” said Ross Anderson, a researcher in Cambridge, England, and author of Security Engineering. “They have tried to cut out the unnecessary rubbish that clutters up the typical PC. How good a job they’ve done, I just don’t know…. So we definitely can’t rule out the possibility that someone in the future writes a Slammer-style worm that causes thousands of ATMs to start spewing out cash.” [Wired News]