Software updates: Why they matter for cyber security
Regularly updating the software on your computer and other devices is one of the easiest ways to protect yourself from cyber threats. And yet, many people still choose to avoid taking the simplest steps to update their software.
Here’s the Get Cyber Safe guide to how software updates can help protect you, your family and your business from cyber threats.
Why software updates matter
Our computers, tablets and phones are great devices to have. But for all the benefit they bring us, they also leave us exposed to cyber threats. Our devices contain a ton of information about our online activities, personal data and even our banking and financial information.
That’s why we need to keep them safe from cyber threats.
If you protect your devices, you protect yourself. And one of the best – and easiest – ways to protect your device is to regularly update your software.
How software updates can help protect you
Because your operating system manages all the functionality on your computer, it can be a vulnerable target for hackers. Operating systems have many built-in functions to help prevent attacks.
The problem is, though, that cyber threats are constantly changing. That’s why operating system providers regularly offer operating system updates: To keep on top of changing threats from cyber criminals.
If you don’t update your OS, you leave yourself vulnerable to losing the information on your device or compromising access to key accounts. That can cost you your identity, your information and even money.
So, how can you protect your clinic?
If you have a monthly support plan with BlueBird, updates for your operating systems for your PC’s and Servers are automatically handled by or Network Operations Center team! If you are not on a monthly support plan please contact us and we would be glad to let you know how we can keep your clinic protected!
How about your mobile devices?
Your mobile phone operating system (OS) manages all functionality on your device. Some examples of popular OS platforms are BlackBerry, Windows Mobile, Android, Palm OS, Symbian and iPhone OS. Your OS is specific to your device and essentially built in.
You should check for safe firmware updates for your mobile phone on a regular basis. It contains many powerful security features to protect against increasingly smarter hackers, viruses and malware.
Follow these tips for mobile phone OS security updates:
Check your mobile provider's website regularly for OS update information for your device make and model. Always act on OS upgrade alerts messages from your mobile provider. OS updates can include anything from a completely new version to a patch or fix to increase security, iron out bugs or add extra functionality.
Do not try to modify the device's control software, even if you're an advanced user. Other than breaking the terms of your contract, you could open yourself up to all manners of hacking and malware.
Never "jailbreak", or try to remove the limitations imposed by the manufacturer of your mobile device. No matter how good the third party software may seem, jailbreaking could disable or bypass security measures of your mobile's OS, making you easy prey for a virus, worm or trojan. It could also keep an OS from receiving or enabling future upgrades.
Tricks for remembering to update your software
Understanding the importance of software updates is one thing. Actually doing them? Another matter entirely.
Here are a few tricks you can use to remember to update your software.
Enable automatic updates
Most operating systems – for both mobile devices and personal computers – come with a feature that allows you to automatically download and install updates.
This is the simplest way to ensure that your computers and other devices are constantly up-to-date.
The only trick? Taking the time to enable the automatic updates in the first place!
Once you do that, your operating system will automatically update key cyber security fixes as soon as they’re available.
Open your device at off hours
The worst time to update your software is when you’re trying to get something done. We get reminders when we open up a computer or laptop, but chances are we opened it to complete a particular task.
Software updates frequently require your device to be unavailable (and then likely have to restart) for at least a period of time. That makes it tough to set aside time out of your work or personal time to allow for these to be completed.
Thankfully, there are some solutions to help you download updates at off hours.
Set a timer during an off-period to remind yourself to update your device: This ensures you don’t need your computer or phone during the time you’ve set aside for software updates.
Check for software updates before bed: This will allow you to start any software updates so they happen while you sleep.
Take a quick work break
We all need to take a break some time, right?
The next time you get prompted with a software update request when you open up your device in the morning but don’t have time to do it right away, set yourself a reminder for later. That way, when that mid-morning coffee break rolls around, all you need to do is enable the update.
Software updates are about a lot more than just getting the latest features for your device or computer. They have important updates that allow you to keep you – and your device – safe from cyber threats.
Ensure you’re staying cyber secure by ensuring your operating system is always up-to-date.
Sources - Republished with the permission of Canadian Centre for Cyber Security, January 15, 2020