Learn How Those “Pesky” Security Updates are Actually Keeping You Safe
Security update/patch is a term that you may have heard one too many times. Whether at work or at home, our life is surrounded by various kinds of hardware and software, all of which require frequent security updates to keep functioning securely and efficiently. You might find frequent reminders of updates like these by your OS or applications bothersome, but delaying them for too long could actually lead to something as serious as danger to your cybersecurity. This article will explain what a security patch is and why is it so necessary for all hardware and software that you are using.
Breaking Down the Concept of Security Updates More Deeply
Whether it is operating systems, web browsers, or software applications, they all require security updates from time to time. No technology tool is devoid of flaws. The software or operating system providers keep striving to find any vulnerabilities that might be present in their product, loopholes that were not known previously. The reason why they keep looking for any possible security issues with the software is because they don’t want hackers to discover and exploit these vulnerabilities to launch an attack on the cybersecurity of their users.
The objective of the companies is to find a fix for any security flaw in their product and not give hackers the chance to take advantage of it. The security patch that you’re asked to install is this fix. It is a piece of code that on execution rectifies the vulnerabilities and improves the security of the software. In addition to fixing bugs and enhancing security, a patch can also help in boosting the performance, stability, compatibility, and usability of the system. Let’s continue talking about the benefits of software updates in the next section.
How Important Are Security Updates for Your Software?
- You Have a Target on Your Back If You Don’t Update
As mentioned before, system vulnerabilities attract cyber criminals like bees to honey. When you receive a notification for updating your browser, operating system, or any other software application, the longer you delay installing the update, the longer you are endangering your IT security. Remember the WannaCry ransomware attack of 2017? The attack capitalized on a security flaw in the Microsoft Windows operating system. Microsoft had already released security patches for this particular flaw before the attack. You can guess what happened to those who didn’t install these patches in time. The list of the victims in the attack mainly featured those who hadn’t updated their Windows operating system with the latest security patches for the vulnerability. It also featured organizations that were using very old Windows systems. To think that timely updates could have prevented the spread of this notorious malware is astonishing and also a lesson for the world in the importance of regular software security updates.
- You Have Too Much to Lose If You Don’t Update
What’s the worse thing that could happen if you don’t update your software? Well, your computer or mobile device would no longer remain a safe haven for all your important data and documents. If the hackers target your device through a security vulnerability in any of the software applications that you’re using, then the device would likely be infected with a malware and your personal data would be susceptible to misuse before you know it. Think about it, you don’t want anyone snooping about your private photographs, financial information, work products, or similar information of critical value. You stand to lose this and more if you miss out on completing essential updates.
- There are Benefits Other Than Security Too
While security is certainly the most critical benefit of software patches, there are other benefits too that you should know of. These patches can do more than just fix the software vulnerabilities, they could also:
- Introduce new features to the software.
- Fine-tune the existing features.
- Do away with the obsolete features.
- Improve the quality of user experience.
- Enable greater software performance and stability.
These array of benefits show that software updates can benefit you on so many fronts.
Your Hardware Needs an Update Too
Hardware devices like hard drive, printer, video card, router, etc. are vital components of your technology setup. Just like other software applications, the firmware of these hardware devices need to be updated as well on a timely basis. You may find firmware update related information on the website of the hardware device manufacturer.
Don’t Fall for the Wrong Kind of Updates!
Now that you know how important installing updates is, it’s time you also know about the kind of “updates” that are actually malware. Ever come across a pop-up window for a security update at the time of Internet browsing? The window may carry an Install button and possibly a message signifying the urgent need for installation. You shouldn’t trust shady update notifications like these, because it is very much likely that the “update” is in fact a malware. Clicking on Install wouldn’t lead to any security update, it would actually lead to the installation of a malware on your device. When it comes to updates, it’s extremely crucial that you ascertain that the source of the update is reliable. Otherwise, you could end up doing more harm than good. The company providing the software is the best source for the respective software’s updates.
How Can Organizations Stay Up-to-Date Easily?
If you are an organization that uses multiple software applications in your everyday activities, then keeping all these applications up-to-date is indispensable. You can’t risk having even a single vulnerability in any of these applications. In case you feel like software updates is a task too extensive for you to handle, then you should hire a managed IT services provider to take care of all these updates for you. With the support of the provider’s managed security services, you will be able to ensure that latest security patches are installed for all your applications, and that the applications have no known security issues.