Picture this, you’re sitting at home on the computer working on a report, and a window pops up with a reminder that there is a software update available. Without a thought, you click the “not now” or “remind me later” button and carry on. You say to yourself, “I’ll get to it later!” The problem is that you never seem to get back to it.
It’s so easy to keep putting updates off, but while some can wait for others need to be taken care of as soon as they pop up. If you skip updates to your antivirus and anti-spyware software, you leave a wealth of private information open to hackers. This could include:
• Your personal files (like that report you’re working on)
• Your address, phone numbers, social security numbers
• Your driver’s license numbers, credit card numbers,
• Your banking information
• Anything that could make it easier for a criminal to steal your identity
More Than Your Antivirus/Antispyware Software
But keeping your antivirus and antispyware software needs to be kept up to date. For example, recently the credit reporting company Equifax suffered a massive data breach that left personal information such as that listed above for approximately 143 million people open to hackers. The hackers made use of web application Equifax was using that had a known vulnerability to access the data.
A fix had been published that would have eliminated the possibility of this particular hack being successful and obtaining so much data. However, for whatever reason, the update was not installed. Talk about a hard way to learn your lesson, but at least the rest of us can learn a lot from their mistake. No matter what type of software you have on your computer when an update comes out, you should probably install it.
Software Makes You Vulnerable
A large percentage of the worst malware attacks are successful only because they can breach vulnerabilities in the most commonly used software such as browsers and operating systems. Because of this, software developers are continually working to improve their products by eliminating these vulnerabilities and make it harder for hackers to find their way in. With this in mind, it should be easy to see why, when that next update window pops up; you should hit to “Do It Now” button rather than “I’ll Never Remember to Do It Button.”
There is more to most software updates than security fixes; many contain new features or updates to existing features. Each update is designed to enhance overall user experience by removing outdated features, and in some cases speeding up overall operation by reducing the load placed on the system.
Along with this, you should also:
• Keep your security software up to date
• Set updates to automatic on all software that has this setting
• Set reminders for to check for updates on those that don’t
• Verify the authenticity of any software before you download it
• Change your passwords frequently
• State up to date on the latest threats to make sure your computer is adequately protected
Keeping your computer and everything is safe from hackers is your job, and it should be your priority. By protecting your data, you are adding yet another layer of protection for your entire family.