Think of your computer’s software and apps as you would the tires on your car. You depend on them to always work properly, and should regularly check that they’re filled with air for the optimal driving experience. You want them to have all the necessary patches and make sure they aren’t wearing thin anywhere, lest they become unsafe. Sound familiar?
Just as tires regularly need their air pressure checked and topped up, your computer software regularly needs to be updated. Failing to do so can lead to frustrating (and avoidable) situations that leave your personal information and your device at risk.
Why is it important to update your software?
Security experts, developers and hackers work around the clock to find security weaknesses. Your device’s safety largely depends on the good guys finding vulnerabilities first, fixing them, and releasing updates. The catch? You need to install the updates quickly. What happens too often is we say “Sure, I’ll update it at some point. Later…” and all too often it never happens.
What can happen if you don’t regularly update your software?
The problem with the procrastination mindset is that it leaves too much up to chance. If hackers find software vulnerabilities first, they can release malware and attacks that exploit these weaknesses on your computer’s software. They use this opportunity to take control over your computer, and have the freedom to use it for malicious purposes, such as DDoS attacks, or steal your data and personal information.
How often should you update?
If your software does not automatically update, you should check for updates at least once per week. However, you can set your computer to automatically update software so it’s one less thing to worry about.
What about fake software update alerts?
- Due to risks presented by fake software update messages and popups, you should check the software itself for updates. Update alerts usually don’t come over email, they instead appear when you open the software.
- Check for misspelled words and off-branding as these can be further indicators of phishing attempts.
- When in doubt, visit the official site of the software and update directly from them.
- Don’t update when using public Wifi.