You may hear techies talking about “system patches” or “Windows updates”. Here’s what that means, and why it’s important:
On a regular basis, Microsoft releases updates to its Windows operating systems that are currently running on millions of computers and servers around the world. These updates, also called “patches”, perform some key functions:
- The update may address a specific bug or flaw that’s recently been discovered since the last update
- The update can improve the operating system’s general stability or performance
- The update can fix a security vulnerability
We’ll focus on security vulnerabilities. This is a key when it comes to building and maintaining your network in a way that’s robust and can hold up against attacks and hackers. The vast majority of cyber-attacks take advantage of known software vulnerabilities that haven’t been fixed, or “patched”, by the software maker.
Hackers have sophisticated scanning tools that are able to find your unpatched and out of date software. Once they’ve identified you as a target, they’re able to penetrate your machines, using known ways to exploit the out of date software, then wreak havoc and inflict damage.
If you think you don’t have anything a hacker would want inside your network, that’s most likely not true. We hope you’ll read on and realize the kind of damage that can be done. Once a hacker has compromised your network, they can:
- Perform screen shots to capture data from your network
- Activate keyloggers to capture your usernames and passwords to key accounts, such as online banking
- They can turn on your webcam or microphone to capture sensitive conversations
- They can damage or destroy your files, or encrypt them and hold them ransom
Your Windows operating systems aren’t your only vulnerabilities. Simple applications that are installed on your computers can also be security holes. Unpatched programs like Java, Acrobat, or a number of other programs can be penetrated in the same way as unpatched Windows operating systems.
As vulnerabilities are discovered, software makers release fixes for them. But if you don’t install the fix by patching your operating system or applications, you’re still vulnerable. Many programs require manual updates to be performed, which is tedious and nearly impossible to keep up with.
The solution to all of this is to implement an automated system of patching your operating systems and 3rd party software applications. SCA can install tools on all of your computers and servers that will see to it that your systems are always patched and updated. Our patching tools are a standard part of our managed network service packages.
Call or email us today to hear more about how we can protect your network.
Dedicated to your success,
Southeastern Computer Associates, LLC