IT Security Tip #9: If you installed it, you must update it!
There are thousands of hackers and very successful criminal business people who get up every morning with ONE goal in mind: to find a new vulnerability in a commonly installed software (like Adobe Flash, Shockwave, QuickTime, Java, or many others) to access your computer.
A crude analogy for a vulnerability is an allergy in humans. This will be silly, but will illustrate the point…what if someone got a dollar every time you sneezed. If that someone found out you had an allergy to cats, it would be in his interest to take advantage of your “vulnerability” by exploiting the allergy with a new fluffy kitten! Gesundheit! In software, the allergy is always changing but the computer owner can never know what it is. Cyber criminals revel in researching and finding flaws they can exploit to their advantage.
Vulnerabilities in software can be a result of almost anything…the presence of another software product, or particular version of it, or even an update to THAT software which creates the vulnerability. Thats why software manufacturing companies frequently issue updates and “patches” for KNOWN vulnerability; also known as security bugs, once a KNOWN one is announced via a patch, hackers get to work like crazy trying to figure out how to use it and access those users who are lazy about installing updates. Thats why its critically important to update installed software programs as soon as possible in most cases.
Another aspect of patches and updates…when something’s not working correctly, a software company’s tech support will very likely not even consider troubleshooting the issue if all software involved is not completely updated simply because it represents an “unknown quantity”.
Of course, if youre a client of ours, were proactively working to keep Microsoft and other companies’ software applications up to date for you; but your home computers, smartphone and other devices that may NOT be under our protection still need continual attention to ensure they stay up to date.
Keep your digital tools and toys up to date to give you the best chance at being both secure and productive!