There are currently several ransomware gangs thought to be trying to exploit a Microsoft Windows bug. The bug – dubbed “PrintNightmare” – involves the Windows Print Spooler tool, which enables your laptop to spool documents and anything else you want to print to your printer, as well as other printing features.
Ransomware gangs and cybercriminals targeting software vulnerabilities is nothing new. They’re doing this all the time.
What’s notable about this bug is that Microsoft has been aware of it – and a patch has been available – since June. Yet, millions of systems around the world remain vulnerable to ransomware attacks.
Our relationship with software and device updates
How often do we click the “Remind me later” or “Postpone” option when we receive a notification that an update is needed or is ready?
Many of us find it easy to update our smartphones – we just schedule them to take place at 2 am when our devices are charging and we’re asleep. At the same time, some of us might see an update pending on our laptop and take weeks, even months, before we do it. We’ve all been in a situation where we’ve wrapped up a meeting and been left sitting like a lemon for 10 minutes, unable to leave while our laptop updates.
Why keeping devices and software updated is so important
While it’s easy to think, “we’ll update it later,” you may be putting your digital safety and cybersecurity at significant risk until you get round to it.
The best way to deal with updates, as inconvenient as they may feel at times, is to just hit the button and get them done. How would you rather spend your time? Bored while your device or software updates, or listening to some dodgy music while on hold to your credit card company to discuss the transactions you don’t recognise?
Here are some of the reasons it’s so crucial you keep your devices and software updated.
Updates make your device, software, and apps better
Don’t get us wrong, we know we’ve all switched on a device or clicked on an app following an update and thought, “this isn’t as good as it used to be.”
However, in the main, updates are for the better. They add benefits, speed things up, optimise processes and remove redundant ones, and help to deliver a more enjoyable user experience.
Updates deal with security flaws
While cybercriminals acquire sensitive data most often thanks to weak or compromised credentials – like passwords of “password” – they also regularly exploit software vulnerabilities and security flaws.
There are several ways cybercriminals can do this. Among the most common is using viruses or malware to corrupt your system should you click on a specific link or open a compromised email, for example. Should this occur, you can find yourself without access to your system and files or see your data stolen and used for fraudulent purposes.
Keeping your devices and software up to date means you’re always protected against known vulnerabilities, minimising the risk of this occurring.
Updates protect your sensitive data
Even if you use a cloud storage solution like Dropbox or OneDrive to keep documents and sensitive data, you probably have these accessible locally, too.
Anything that can be used to identify you – from your email address to your bank account details – can potentially help a cybercriminal commit fraud. Likewise, many of us use apps for banking or other purposes that involve keeping our sensitive data in potentially risky locations.
Updating apps, software, and devices mean you can protect your data better from local hacks. Taking this step puts you in a strong position if you ever need to make a data breach claim. You’ll be able to demonstrate that an organisation has been negligent with your data rather than it being a case of you leaving yourself open to attacks.
Updates protect other people, too
Have you ever received a message via Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp telling you about a free Nando’s voucher or a £50 gift card for your favourite supermarket? If you clicked on it, the chances are that it would then trigger the same message to everyone in your contacts list.
Why are we telling you this? Well, the chances are that you only received the message in the first place because your device wasn’t up to date. If it was, you would have never seen it, or at least would have got a security warning before opening it.
If your devices and software are up to date, you help to protect your friends, too. Viruses and malware only spread between systems if we’re complicit in letting them do so.
Keeping your tech up to date isn’t difficult
Most updates involve the touch of a button and a few minutes, at most, of not being able to use a device or app.
Is that really such a significant price to pay for the benefits you get in return?
If you’re diligent about keeping your data safe, it’s only reasonable for you to expect organisations with whom you share your data to do the same.
If your personal information has been leaked or exposed as part of a data breach, you may be entitled to compensation. Contact LawPlus today for a FREE assessment of your claim.