There is no such thing as a set-and-forget solution when it comes to safer cyber citizenship. And that brings us to today’s recommended hack.
Hack #8 - Update!
So far in our blog series on hacks for safer cyber citizenship, we’ve offered a number of steps you can take to protect your data and connected devices from would-be cyber crooks. But having the right stuff is not enough. That’s because things are constantly changing in the world of technology.
The Good Guys are working diligently behind the scenes to devise new and improved products and services, to develop stronger privacy protections, and to address specific threats posed by cyber criminals. Unfortunately, the Bad Guys are working just as hard, trying to figure out how to hack into the products and services you’re using. Or how to sneak around the cyber security protections you’ve put in place.
Device manufacturers and software developers are always on the lookout for ways to fix problems with their products as well as ways to improve them. They offer these patches and upgrades free to customers. But we don’t always take advantage of them.
Remember the WannaCry ransomware attack that infected so many computers worldwide earlier this year? Those computers were vulnerable because available patches that would have protected them had not been installed. And everyone is still painfully aware of the Equifax data breach debacle that affected virtually every adult in America. If only Equifax had made the effort to update their systems!
Updates are not optional, even if they are presented to you as a choice. Sometimes they happen automatically, either as a regularly-scheduled event or in response to a specific problem. But often times you have to deliberately accept or even install them. Always do that – and don’t keep putting it off by clicking the “do it later” button. The longer you wait, the riskier it might be.
Are you using the strongest possible security software on your computer? This is one area where updates are most critical, so it pays to periodically review your coverage.
If you’re using an older operating system, seriously consider switching to an updated version now, even if what you have now is working fine for you. Newer technology is better because it incorporates all the latest advances – not only in security but in functionality. So you benefit in two major ways. On the other hand, older technology is more vulnerable to physical hacking as well as malware insertion. Why set yourself up for that?
Failure to update leaves holes in your system – openings that literally give cyber crooks the perfect opening to infect your devices or apps with malware or ransomware that can take control of your device and your life.
Regularly updating your apps and devices goes a long way toward helping you stay ahead of those who would like to steal your identity or your money. But there is even more you can do. Check back soon to learn our next hack for safer cyber citizenship.