How Up to Date Are Your Applications and Operating System?

7 February 2019

Today millions of computers still have at least one outdated application installed or are running outdated operating systems, making themselves vulnerable to online threats and known security vulnerabilities.

Avast has just released its PC Trends Report 2019, which makes interesting reading. It reveals that millions of users are leaving themselves open to cyber-attacks by keeping outdated versions of popular applications on their computers.

The outdated software applications often provide an open door for cybercriminals to take advantage of known security vulnerabilities in the programs, making them a potential target of cyber-attacks.
It is not only applications, there are also lots of computers running out of date operating systems.

Almost 15% of all Windows 7 computers and 9% of all Windows 10 computers are running outdated versions.

One of the best examples of this is the Global WannaCry attacks that largely infected networks using out-of-date operating systems, like Windows XP, for which Microsoft no longer offers technical support. The UK’s NHS was probably the highest profile victim in the attack. It is publicly acknowledged that the NHS, due to budget constraints had been using older computer systems that still operated Windows XP making them extremely vulnerable to the attack.

The bottom line is that keeping your operating systems and software applications patched and up-to-date is a great way to protect your computer system from cyber-attacks and prevent your personal and sensitive data being stolen.

However, this advice is fine when it is your home computer but what about the systems used in your company. Do you have Patch Management and Change Management Policies in place? Are they fit for purpose? With new exploits being discovered all too frequently, do your policies allow you to get the system patched quick enough? Do we need to rethink the level of urgency we currently place on patching and updating? In reality keeping things up to date and fully patched is the single most simple and effective thing we can do to help keep our systems secure. Should we not make it one of the most important aspects of our company IT management?