“Bug fixes and performance improvements.”
Chances are you’ve seen a line similar to this recently.
That’s because most developers include something like this in their notes when releasing a software update.
It’s true that most apps include bug fixes and performance improvements.
Most often, as users, we may notice these updates in the form of new colors or an updated layout—at least, that’s what people thought they’d see when they saw a SolarWinds update waiting for them in early 2020.
Instead, more than 18,000 SolarWinds customers downloaded a malicious update that exposed critical information, allowing the malware to spread to even more private organizations and governmental agencies in what became a major global supply chain attack.
SolarWinds can be associated with a number of types of cyberattacks, such as malware, phishing, and vulnerability exploitation.
It’s good to note that vulnerability exploitations are quite rare—Verizon’s 2021 Data Breach Investigations Report found that they accounted for just 3 percent, or about 4,000, of data breaches worldwide.
But, they still exist.
And SolarWinds highlights how devastating they can be if they happen.
Let’s take a look at why software and security updates are important, what happens if they’re not installed, and how to make sure your software is up to date for better protection against cyberattacks.
A security update patches security holes and fixes bugs for a variety of things:
Updates are important to perform as they help patch a software’s vulnerabilities, making it harder for hackers to exploit them.
These patches help protect data, such as documents and personal information, that’s valuable to cybercriminals.
Plus, software updates clean up outdated applications from your devices.
Ignoring security updates can potentially expose you and your company to cyberattacks, especially if used in concert with phishing or ransomware.
Criminals steal data to sell it on the dark web.
Without additional precautions—such as strong passwords, multifactor authentication, and more—that stolen information could result in personal and professional losses of time, money, and even identity.
Performing security updates often results in protecting yourself, your coworkers, and your organization as a whole.
Before installing a security update, always seek guidance from your IT team for their recommendation on whether to do so.
Otherwise, we have the following general recommendations for most security updates:
Again, you should consult with your IT team on the way they prefer you update company devices and software—they may even be able to do it for you.
Keeping your software and your devices updated can have enormous benefits for your organization.
Integrity is a managed security service provider, specializing in compliance and working with regulated businesses and organizations. Integrity features a fully staffed help desk that provides immediate response and support, a dedicated information security team, and a C-suite of experienced technology advisement resources ready to help your business.