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Software Updates

Okay, so this one is very straightforward. If your device, or app, or computer program has a software update, update it. There's a couple of reasons for this but the main 2 are as follows -

Firstly, it keeps things running smoothly.

It's pretty simple really. As technology and society move forward, the devices and apps etc. also do. An update to a piece of software helps keep things running without minimal disruption, enabling the end-user to have a better experience. It also gives the latest features and benefits to you. Of course, some are more important than others, and updates tend to come on an ad-hoc basis, but it should be installed every time. If nothing else, it keeps you up to date with changes so you don't get left behind.

More importantly, it's a security thing.

If your computer is working perfectly well and is being supported by the operating system manufacturer, then there is no reason to do anything, right? However, annoying as it may be, let's say your Macbook or PC notifies you that your computer needs to install an 'important' update. Most of us won't think twice about it, and if we're being honest with ourselves, unless the computer does it automatically or we update it immediately, we'll probably forget about it. On the other hand, for some of us, we just ignore it because it's an inconvenience -you can't stop what you're doing for a few minutes so your computer can restart a bunch of times and interfere with your life.

If we take a minute to think about why it might need updating though, we might arrive at the conclusion that the developer has fixed something. But what have they fixed? Well, most commonly, apps/operating systems/online games etc. update themselves because a flaw has been discovered, and for your tech-savvy people out there, you'll know that if a flaw is discovered, it can and will be exploited by cybercriminals. To keep this brief, we'll cover a recent cyberattack that would and should have been avoided.

The WannaCry attack. It spread through the UK's NHS incredibly quick. Essentially, it was a ransomware attack (please check out our explanation of ransomware here) that really shouldn't have occurred. Not to point fingers, but if the correct people installed updates when they first became available, the whole thing would have been avoided. A cybercriminal exposed a flaw in the NHS's computer system. Contrary to belief, the WannaCry attack was not a very sophisticated one. It simply exploited the systems within the NHS that were vulnerable. These machines were mainly operating on Windows 7, a supported system at the time but unpatched (meaning they weren't updated). The NHS was also criticised for using devices operating on Windows XP - a 14-year-old (at the time) and unsupported system. If we put all these factors together, we arrive at the inevitability of someone taking advantage of a very easy situation.

You don't have to suffer the same fate as the NHS and countless others. One major and simple step you can take to avoid the headache of any type of attack is to simply update your software. Even better, head over to your settings and enable automatic updates, effectively taking the few minutes burden of remembering off you completely. These updates will install overnight (or whenever you set it to - it's commonly around 2am) so you don't ever have to think about it.

Take the small step and stop being vulnerable to lazy hackers.

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