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Privacy and Security on the road- Part 5 Updates

February 20, 2016
WIFI Pineapple

Many people have misconceptions about software updates.  Most believe that there is a high risk that an update will break things.  I can say from experience, working IT Security in an organization with hundreds of servers and many thousands of PC’s, for Windows updates we average about 1 update every 3 years that goes badly.  And of all those updates almost all are fixed within days of the problem being discovered.

So for me, I weight 1 update every 3 years vs thousands of critical bugs fixed (that could allow someone to take over our network or steal our data).  The decision is quite easy for me and it would be irresponsible and negligent for me to recommend anything but:

Update all your devices frequently!

This is really so simple in my mind and all the arguments against doing updates come across like conspiracy like the second shooter in the JFK shooting, aliens being held in Area 51, the Loch Ness Monster, Big Foot etc… you get the idea all the arguments against doing updates are based on fiction and not fact.  Unfortunately one bad update is all it takes for some people to think that all updates are bad, even if it only happens once in the entire life of a computer or device (and even that is quite rare).

So what do you need to update and why:

  1. your computer: MAC or PC
  2. your tablet: iPad, Android, Windows
  3. your phone: iPhone, Android, Windows, Blackberry
  4. your network equipment: router, WIFI access point, MIFI hotspot
  5. all your other network connected devices: Game Console, Smart TV, Printer, AppleTV/ChromeCast, DVR, Smart Watch, iPod
  6. Anti virus, Flash, Acrobat

Updates should be done regularly.  For computers, phones and tablets, that should be as the updates are available.  For other devices you may only need to check for updates a few times a year.  it is important to do them right away, in fact back when Windows had a bad reputation for security (which they have cleaned up significantly in the last few years) the running joke in the security field was Patch Tuesday (first Tuesday of the month) was when fixes for security holes came out, the day after was named Exploit Wednesday, as it took so little time for hackers to take the info in the release notes, reverse engineer the fix and find new ways to use the hole to hack users.  With internet speeds and the ability to scan the entire internet for one specific bug down to under a day, that means that by Thursday (after Patch Tuesday), they already have a useable exploit and know if your PC is vulnerable.  The point is update right away.

The most important thing to remember when it comes to updates is to do them as soon as they become available.  it is equally important to have Anti Virus with an active subscription so it can get updates regularly (hourly not daily or weekly).  I have seen a number of times, a new version of a know virus would get rereleased every few days with a tiny change to get it past AV software.  Sometimes these new variations of a virus can be out in the wild for hours or days before the AV software recognizes it.  In an organization with thousands of computers, that means that you could have hundreds of computers infected before you even know that there is a new variation of the virus.   And keep in mind that despite what some people tell you Apple and Android are at as much risk if not more risk that Windows computers and hackers know that.  Do the updates on your iPad and Macbook too and put Anti Virus on them too, they do need it.  With Microsoft improving their security significantly in the past few years, hackers have moved on to easier targets to write viruses for, this is typically MacOS and Android.

 

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From → RV Tech

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