A job for your grandpa: A German-based railway recently posted a job application for an IT administrator with a peculiar skill set. X user konkretor recently discovered a job listing seeking an IT professional with knowledge of legacy operating systems including Windows 3.11 and MS-DOS. The listing has since been removed but according to the user, the job related to railway display boards widely used in Germany.

Tom's Hardware learned that candidates would oversee machines running 166 MHz processors with 8 MB of RAM, which are used to display important technical train data to operators in real-time.

Relying on ancient software for critical infrastructure may seem like a safety hazard, but it is quite the opposite.

Legacy hardware and operating systems are battle tested, having been extensively probed and patched during their heyday. The same can be said for software written for these platforms – they have been refined to the point that they can execute their intended tasks without incident. If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

One could also argue that dated platforms are less likely to be targeted by modern cybercriminals. Learning the ins and outs of a legacy system does not make sense when there are so few targets still using them. A hacker would be far better off to master something newer that millions of systems still use.

Legacy systems are far more common than most realize, and are still used to run mission critical systems. Some airplane manufacturers still use floppy disks to apply service updates to older aircraft. Chuck E. Cheese used foppies to run its animatronics for years, and it wasn't until 2019 that the US military stopped using IBM Series-1 computers from the 1970s in nuclear weapons systems.

It is unclear if the German railway operator found a new admin, or if they simply took down the listing out of embarrassment. If your grandfather is looking for a new job, perhaps drop him a line so he can mail in his application.

Image credit: Pixabay