Cyber security month - Why updating your software is important

Part 3 in LumenVA’s series for European Cyber Security Month deals with keeping your software and systems updated. Read the other parts as they become available:
Passwords | Backups | Updates | Phishing

Update AlertHow often do you receive an update alert for your computer, phone or tablet, and simply tap the “remind me later” option? Nobody wants to be interrupted when they’re in the middle of something. Even though most updates are completed within a few minutes, nowadays, a few minutes can feel like an eternity. That “later” option is an easy-out. However, if you’re always postponing those updates, you could be opening yourself up to all sorts of issues

Why updates are released

Regular updates are actually a good thing. It means that your software is constantly being worked on and improved. Software that is no longer supported and updated can actually leave you exposed to threats.

Developers are not trying to be a thorn in your side – although, when you’ve been prompted to update your Windows, your iTunes and your plugins all in the same day, it certainly can be a pain. They release updates to apps and operating systems for a several reasons.

1. Fixing Bugs

update software to fix bugs

Some updates are to fix bugs. Software bugs are errors, flaws or failures that cause an unexpected or incorrect result. Keeping things updated means that your software is always running the latest version with previous bugs having been taken care of.

2. New Features

update your software for newest featuresAnother reason an update is released might be to include improved or even new features to the software. Obviously, you want in on that! If you’ve invested in a system or software, you want to make sure you’re getting the most out of it. Updating when prompted makes sure you aren’t missing out.

3. Security Patches

update software to deter hackersMost relevant to cybersecurity are the updates which include security patches. These help your system to continue to run securely. We’ve all heard of hackers and cyber criminals. As soon as a new update is released, they’re on the job to uncover any vulnerabilities and exploit them. Often these holes in security are made public once uncovered. Failing to update your software and allowing it to remain operating in an older version can make you vulnerable to attack.

Automatic Updates

It’s likely that you’re set up on automatic updates, but it’s worth double checking. This feature may have been turned off at some stage by you, or by some piece of malware that made it on to your system.

To check for updates on Windows 10

Go to your Start Menu >> Settings >> Update & Security >> Windows Update.

You can see the last time the system checked for updates, and hit the Check for updates button to run a check right now.

How to update Windows 10

Conclusion / TL;DR

You need to be regularly updating your systems and software as part of your cybersecurity strategy, to protect yourself from vulnerabilities.

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