Information Security

Software and App Updates: Why do they matter for your security?

“You’re not up-to-date. Click here to get the newer version.” Have you ever dismissed this kind of reminder or notification before? Heads up! If you have, you are at significant risk. Have you ever wondered why updates frequently appear or why certain apps do not function efficiently if they are outdated?

Similar to the continuous changes in your daily life, how you dress, eat and work, apps and software also need to be updated frequently. Just imagine an old-fashioned or outdated person who is unwilling to adapt and adhere to societal changes. How can he survive in an automated world? It would be a great challenge for him to get noticed. He might even be bullied for being a tech dinosaur.

In parallel, failing to update your apps and software may put you at significant risk of being attacked by hackers’ intelligence, providing them the easiest way to take advantage of bugs and loopholes in the programs. Therefore, older versions of specific apps or software have more attack surface area, creating a greater chance and space for a known and unknown threat to exist.

Security Lead at 10QBIT, Dinuja Wickramarachchi, explained, Unlike banking apps, most apps are built or generated with default configurations, and there aren’t any security countermeasures. So they could be vulnerable to code injection malware, reverse engineering, malware embedding, tampering, Man in the Middle (MITM) attacks – cyber-attack in which the attacker secretly intercepts and relays messages between two parties who believe they are communicating directly with each other – and much more.

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App developers should include appropriate security countermeasures and app shielding features, and users must always download and install apps from trusted sources like the Play Store and App Store. Remember that those trusted sources also had incidents of distributing malicious apps because of lack of detection and hackers’ ability to avoid detection.”

Developers with poor knowledge of security practices and the malicious activity of hackers ultimately end up with stolen data, privacy issues in their systems, and more. Sometimes even developers of a particular app take years to identify a potential security risk. But hackers do it earlier, Dinuja stated.

What are the security advantages gained by updating apps and software?

Here’s Dinuja’s advice. “As Cybersecurity geeks and professionals, we are always up to date on new vulnerabilities, exploits, security loopholes, and other threats. However, users generally cannot stay updated on security issues as we do since they have dozens of apps installed on their phones. They cannot go to each app’s website and check for security breaches and discovered vulnerabilities, so the convenient thing to do is to update as soon as possible when they receive an update. When you receive an update, you can see the change log and everything that has changed.

Now that you are aware of the importance of updating your software, here are some tips to keep you safe from Cyber threats:

●      If you are a person with a demanding schedule and you have no time to look into frequent updates, here’s a tip for you. Enabling automatic updates allows you to keep your apps or software updated without manually checking for and installing available updates. The software automatically contains available updates; if any are found, the updates are downloaded and installed without your intervention.

 ●      To strengthen your security further, you can use an anti-malware scanner app like Microsoft’s Malwarebyte and Apple’s Norton™360.

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