Cyber Security 101: How hackers will kick you while you’re down

Devices run a huge amount of software applications. This includes operating systems such as Windows, Android and all the apps installed which we rely on to work, travel and more. However, many of us are ignorant to the fact that these applications have people working on them all day and night to ensure you’re safe from an attack. 


When applications prompt an update, it’s usually because its developers have fixed flaws that could compromise your devices if left out-of-date. Attackers who succeed in compromising your devices could potentially steal data, encrypt your files or prevent your device from working at all. 


To prevent attackers from exploiting known vulnerabilities in the software, all these applications need to be up to date. In other words, as users, it’s our responsibility to apply the updates in a timely manner. So yes, those annoying Chrome, Adobe and Windows updates we ignore are probably delaying the inevitable – so we better stay on top of them. 


To do so, our Cyber Security Expert, Nuwan, has formed a list of things you can do to ensure your devices are kept up date and safe. 


Nuwan shared in another blog how you can avoid falling victim to scams and how to make logging into your online accounts more secure and easier with password managers. 

things you should do

Automatic updates: ensure that automatic updates are enabled for all the apps in your devices where possible. Take special care around operating systems, web browsers, office apps, document readers, and any antivirus software you use. 


Back-up: if you don’t back up your device regularly, it is a best practice to do a backup at least before an update. A computer back up might require you to store information on an external hard drive. These are super easy to source, and you can pick one up from your local tech store. Best rule of thumb is to buy one with double the amount of storage that’s on your computer. So, if you have 1TB of storage on your computer, you’ll be looking for a 2TB hard drive. Have a browse through these external hard drives: External HDDs & SSDs, Desktop HDDs, and more – 


Follow instructions: some updates might need your device to be connected to the internet, and power, and has a certain amount of free storage. If this is the case, follow the instructions in the update process. 


Double check your updates have been completed: check occasionally that your device is up to date regardless of having automatic updates On Windows, you can do this by going to Settings –> Security & Privacy –> Check for an update. Sometimes automatic updates may fail due to the following reasons:  

Phased out of Candy Crush? Delete it: consider deleting apps you don’t use – then you won’t need to update them, they don’t pose a security risk, and you’ll free up space on your device. 


All smart devices need updates (yes, the fridge…): remember to check and update other less obvious things around your home or business. This includes remote control apps for your smart devices such as printers, heat pumps, wireless speakers, and garage door openers. 


If you’re intrigued to know more about how vulnerabilities are spotted and exploited by attackers, check out this useful article by Check Point.

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