InfoSec Blog - Software Updates: As Important as Doing Your Taxes (and just as fun!)

June 24th, 2016

Software updates are a pain.  Just as you sit down to do something, you are greeted with a popup asking you to install an update, or your computer reboots while you are in the middle of playing a video game, or something refuses to run until you install an update.  But those updates are there for a good reason.

Why should I?

While most people associate software updates with new features or fixing issues such as crashing, but there is a much more important reason for them:  fixing security vulnerabilities.  Software programmers are human, and as such make mistakes.  Sometimes these mistakes can lead to vulnerabilities, which can possibly lead to exploitation.  These potential exploitations will allow attackers to infect your computer with malicious software, which can steal your personal information, or encrypt your files with ransomware.

What you can do?

  1. Run updates.
  2. Run updates frequently
  3. Run updates next time you are prompted
  4. Run updates every time you are prompted

It really is that simple.  If you are prompted for an update, install it. 

The software that prompts you for updates the most (Windows, macOS, Java, MS Office, Adobe Flash and Adobe Reader/Acrobat) are doing it for a very good reason; they are the most frequently attacked and exploited applications, and as such should be updated as soon as you are prompted.  If you don’t, you are putting your computer, and all the data on it at risk.

A software update might delay you for a few minutes from what you want to do on your computer, but a malware or ransomware infection will delay you much longer, and inconvenience you much more.

 

Written by: Brendan Hohenadel (Cyber Forensics Analyst, Information Security)