Last month’s massive data breach at Equifax was caused by their failure to update their software and patch a security vulnerability. Though it sounds appalling, this is common. Security experts believe that most breaches result from a failure to update software components containing vulnerabilities known for months or even years.
While tragic, the Equifax data breach should serve as a reminder of the importance of maintaining security on our internet-connected devices. A little effort can help save you from major problems and headaches in the future.
Keep Your Software Up-to-Date
Companies respond to security vulnerabilities by issuing updates containing patches. New vulnerabilities surface daily, so security patches can be released frequently.
- Whether it be the operating systems and apps on your computer, phone, tablet or other internet-connected devices (such as your Echo, thermostat, or drone), keep your software up-to-date with the latest security patches.
- Find out how to obtain security updates. Updating your computer, phone or apps can be more intuitive than updating connected home devices, appliances and toys. Make sure you know whether the product is supported and how to get updates before connecting it to the internet.
- Stay vigilant! Consider allowing your software to update automatically (if the feature exists) if you are prone to forgetting or putting off updates.
- Keep your anti-virus/anti-malware software up-to-date and allow automatic updates if you are able. If it isn’t up-to-date it can’t protect you against the newest threats.
- Periodically check to make sure your software and apps are still being supported with new security updates. For example, if your computer still runs on the Windows XP or Vista operating system, it is no longer being supported by Microsoft.