The ATMs that we use so often for banking transactions could become more vulnerable to online attacks next month.

On April 8, Microsoft will stop issuing updates, patches and other support for Windows XP, the operating system in 95 percent of ATMs.  Banks and other financial institutions have been asked to take immediate action to protect themselves from the threat.

However, only about a third of them will immediately switch to other, more secure operating systems, said Craig Smith, of the Shepherd & Smith Cyber Intelligence Group, in Colorado Springs.

"I don't want to cause a panic, but the threat is there," he said.  "The safest thing for consumers to do is stop using ATMs.  But that's extreme."

Smith recommends that people sign up for a service that protects them in case of an online attack in which personal information may be stolen.

"Also contact your banking institution and see if they have advanced security measures that you can enroll in," Smith said.  "Some banks have advanced monitoring protocols that they can engage in."