Updated or out of luck? A simple click can eliminate or create online risk

I’ve done it myself. The prompt comes up alerting me of an annoying software update, and I click on remind me later.

The problem? Later most often turns into never.

A while back, I wrote a post about a blog written by Jonathan Yarema at a company called Trustwave SpiderLabs. Yarema’s mother feared that she was perhaps being scammed online, so she reached out to her son for help before sharing too much information.

There are so many ways in which criminals can take advantage of the average user online, but there are also many ways in which we can protect ourselves and our families from becoming victims of an attack.

If you’re at all familiar with the recent worldwide ransomware that impacted nearly 300,000 companies, you know that the Internet of Things (IoT)–all of our beloved devices–are vulnerable to attacks because they are connected to the internet.

Unless, you keep your applications and software updated with the most recently released patches.

For some households, that demands a little extra time and attention, given that each device from the desktop to the laptop to the iPad, cell phone, and iWatch (and everything else I’m not thinking of) may have a variety of different apps running on it.

The updates are issued because bugs have been discovered in the software. Bugs aren’t necessarily vulnerabilities, but they can be if they aren’t fixed. Sending out the fix protects the device.

That means that when we ignore those little alerts in the settings or the app store that tell us about available updates, we are putting our device at risk. If a hacker finds a way to exploit the bug, they can send malicious software through an application that hasn’t been updated.

No parents want to think about a hacker accessing the camera on their child’s laptop, but there are some pretty savvy bad guys that are able to do just that.

Gone are the days when the average person can assume that a computer is secured simply because it has an antivirus software running. Mostly because a lot of users don’t even update their antivirus software.

These types of programs can only protect against known threats, and new threats (zero day) are discovered every day.

Even as I sit here writing this blog, I see that I have a new update in my app store–Garage Band and iMovie. Because I don’t use either of those, I might be inclined to ignore it, BUT, I know that I can’t.

I also know that I should probably check my other Apple devices, especially the ones that my kids use.¬†Certainly our kids don’t download the same applications we do, so it’s our job to make sure that they too are keeping their apps updated. We have to check all of our family devices, almost all the time.¬†

 

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