Why Software Updates and Patches are Essential?
We live in a digital world. From a small-scale business to multinationals and Government services, every organisation uses computers and other electronic devices to stay connected. And it’s not just about connecting to the internet. Entire operations are run on complex workflows and other systems.
As all these applications and systems run on software, it is crucial that they are updated. Updates fix the security holes in the software. We often find pop-ups that remind us about these software updates. Most of us probably turn down this reminder or extend it. But do you know that by doing this you are putting your system at risk? In this article, our cybersecurity experts from Perth will discuss why software updates and patches are essential.
What is a software patch?
It is a quick set of changes in a software, intended to update, improve or fix it. Patches are usually sent in the form of data packages to improve security issues or resolve functionality issues.
Why are software updates and patches essential?
Protects from Software Vulnerabilities
Cyber-attacks can be silent. Hackers silently intrude into the system and gather all the sensitive information. They can then use the data to steal your identity or money. Your personal data can also be sold on the dark web to other malicious entities. With ransomware, hackers lock your system and ask for a ransom to release it.
The effects of a data breach can be particularly disastrous for SMBs. It can take months to get the system back to normal if at all. Apart from the financial loss, a loss of credibility among the customers can be difficult to come out of. Read our post on how a cyberattack affects SMBs and how they can protect themselves.
One ransom attack that recently shocked the world was WannaCry. Hackers stole information and details about clients and customers by exploiting a software vulnerability. The extent of the attack caused Microsoft to release software patches for even unsupported systems. However, many people ignored the updates and got their systems infected. The hackers had taken advantage of the system vulnerabilities which could have been fixed before. Many clients had either ignored or delayed the reminders.
Software at the purchase stage is not perfect. Once users start reporting issues, publishers are continually trying to find the vulnerabilities and flaws and overcome them. Each time an update is made, they send notifications to all systems using that version of the software. Installing the patches is essential to keep systems secured from cyberattacks. Also, ensure that you are using the latest version of the software.
Increases System Efficiency
Software updates and patches not only helps you to secure the system from hacking but also helps to increase your system efficiency. Most updates add new features or enhance existing features, enabling you to compete with the latest software and technologies. Some latest applications won’t work with the older version of the software. In such cases, software update becomes mandatory. It also enhances user interface experience.
Enhances System Compatibility
System compatibility is another reason why you should update software. The way software interacts with other software is a performance measuring factor. Let us consider the case of drivers. Drivers are files that instruct hardware like graphics card printers etc. how to operate. If the software you use is not compatible with these drivers, you can’t run that hardware and the system may not work correctly.
Protection for you and others
Virus and malware can affect many systems in a network. This can be from a peripheral device like USB or memory cards or even websites that you visit. When you open a malicious site or link, spyware gets automatically downloaded to your system. This can slow down your system or it may even crash. A system with the latest versions will immediately warn you about these threats.
If your system is infected by malware or virus, it does not affect just you. It may also infect devices and other systems connected to it. In this way, a LAN itself can crash. Some viruses can also attach themselves to mails and infect the systems of the recipients. By regularly updating software and antivirus, you can keep your system safe.
Software vulnerabilities – A weakness or flaw in a software program that cyberattackers exploit to gain access to a system.
Ransomware – A type of malware where the attackers encrypts your data and locks you out of your computer and demands a ransom to release it.
User interface – It is the means by which users interact with a computer, mainly through software and input devices.
Blake is the Technical Services Manager of The Computing Australia Group, he is responsible for coordinating a team of technicians to deliver IT services to our valued clients. He works with a diverse client portfolio spanning mining, oil & gas, manufacturing, government, and corporate sectors. It is challenging because no two clients and no two sectors have the same IT environment. The team at CAG is committed to documentation and we spend a lot of time ensuring that each site is documented to the highest standard.