When it comes to your computer, regardless of the platform, it’s only as good from a security standpoint as it’s latest patch. Patching your computer is a crucial component to our defense-in-depth policy for staying secure in today’s online environment, so let’s go into greater detail why patching your computer is important.
As computer programs have become more advanced, the number of lines of code — the commands that make up a program — has increased considerably. As that complexity has increased, the chances that something could be manipulated within the code to allow access to a computer system has increased as well. When someone takes advantage of some code in a program, that is called an exploit, and the program is then known to have a vulnerability.
When a computer program, whether it be a program like Microsoft Word, or the Windows OS, or even Apple OSX or iTunes has a vulnerability, the maker of the program will write a fix for that vulnerability, called a patch, that fixes the problem so it is no longer an issue.
The more complex a program is, the more likely it will have vulnerabilities, and sometimes, even though the patch may fix one vulnerability in a program, it may not fix all of the vulnerabilities, or it may even expose a different vulnerability altogether. So, because of the complexity of our computers, it is vital that we take responsibility on our home computers to make sure that they are patched regularly.
In looking at my laptop, which is running Windows 10, in addition to the operating system, which will have it’s own series of patches over time, there are currently well over 100 applications installed on the laptop. Many of these are part of the OS, and some of them are patches that have already been installed — but despite that, there are a lot of programs, and each one of them could have a vulnerability, or multiple vulnerabilities, that could become a problem down the road.
That is why patching your computer is an extremely important task to stay on top of. The good news is that often the OS will check for patches automatically and let you know of new updates to install. Additionally, anti-virus makers also often check for updates to programs for you, so you have multiple ways of being updated. It is possible, though, to disable these protections, so check periodically to make sure something hasn’t done that.
Do you have any issues in patching your computer? I’m here to help. Reach out to me via email, phone, Facebook, LinkedIn, or schedule an appointment here on the website, and I’ll be glad to help you. Thanks for reading, have a great day!