The importance of keeping up-to-date.

Is your device putting you and your data at risk? The world of technology is a fascinating and ever-changing one. With the demand for shiny new things ever increasing, manufacturers often strive to reduce the time between a concept and a product. Unfortunately, this does mean that products are frequently released without having been fully tested in all environments. It is therefore sadly common to find issues with applications and devices which manufacturers then release updates to resolve.

It is these issues that can sometimes lead to new vulnerabilities, which can be exploited by so-called cyber criminals developing new malware and viruses to attack systems, networks and data. There is a continuing battle between vendors and cyber-criminals with all of us in the middle. Every single day, new vulnerabilities are discovered, and patches released by vendors to fix them. Meanwhile, the cyber-criminals are continually developing their methods to more quickly take advantage of such vulnerabilities before they are patched.

For this reason, it is essential that updates and patches are applied promptly, and only from reliable sources. Antivirus software is frequently updated several times a day. If you are using an old version, or failing to keep yours up-to-date then it is probably giving you a false sense of security, as it will offer no protection whatsoever from current attacks. Similarly, other software packages are often updated by their developers. These updates need to be applied as soon as possible.

Hardware also frequently receives updates and patches. These too should be applied promptly to offer maximum protection and functionality. Don’t put off applying updates to mobile phones, iPads and other devices. They could include patches for specific security issues that may be used to steal your data, or damage your device. Sadly, these are genuine risks, and such vulnerabilities are actively being used by cyber-criminals.

Take these actions to reduce your risk:

  • Check that your personal devices are up-to-date.
  • Ensure that you are using current and supported versions of software.
  • Don’t use old versions of Windows as these no longer receive updates.
  • Always use a current antivirus product and keep it updated (most can do this automatically).
  • Do not accept any help from someone telephoning you from “Microsoft”, “BT” or “Your Internet Provider”.
  • Always use an up-to-date Web Browser (Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Edge, etc.).
  • Be cautious of third-party software or websites that offer to update all of your software.
  • Only ever use legitimate, licensed software obtained from a reliable source.
  • Avoid downloading movies, files and software from file sharing sites.
  • Stay up-to-date by reading email updates and information on this site.

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