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The Risks of Out-of-Date Software

At SEBS, we understand how challenging it can be to run a business, no doubt you’re juggling several balls at any one time! Which is why keeping your software up to date may not be at the top of your list of priorities, particularly if your current software is operating just fine as it is. However, unbeknownst to many, out-of-date software can actually pose a huge security threat to yourself and your business.

In this article, we’re going to explore why that is and what you can do to avoid any such risk.

One of the major risks of leaving your software out-of-date is Ransomware attacks. Despite a recent decline, they are still a dangerous threat to businesses. Fortunately, you can reduce this risk simply by keeping your operating system up to date.

What is a Ransomware attack?

Ransomware is a form of malware that encrypts a victim’s files. The attacker then demands a ransom (hence Ransomware) from the victim, in order for them to restore access to the data. Usually, the victim will be shown instructions for how to pay the required fee, and once the payment has been made the attacker will exchange a decryption key. The fee required can range from a couple of hundred pounds, all the way to a few thousand, so it is a far from desirable situation to be in, particularly when they have access to sensitive information.

There are a number of routes that an attacker can take in order to gain access to your data. The most common is via phishing emails, a method that most businesses are aware of. Once the recipient, an employee of yours for example, has downloaded and opened the attachment within the email, the attacker instantly has access to the user’s desktop computer or laptop, and even more worryingly, all the data stored on it.

Unfortunately, there are more aggressive forms of ransomware which take advantage of any security holes within your operating system. This way they can access and infect users’ computers without needing to communicate them at all.

This is exactly why it is so important to keep your software up to date. Many older versions of software do not include ransomware protection, leaving gaps in your security that cyber attackers can exploit for malware attacks, viruses and worms. At SEBS, we can assist in ensuring that your security measures are water-tight and help reduce the risks of data breaches or security threats by:

  •   Keeping your operating systems and software up to date
  •   Checking all software prior to installing it or granting administration privileges
  •   Installing business grade antivirus software that identifies malware or ransomware as they arrive. We recommend Panda Adaptive Defence.
  •   Providing data backup services and disaster recovery, should the worst happen.

Outside of ransomware, you also need to consider mobile phones. As your business grows, so does your workforce, and with it the number of mobile phones that are connected to your network. If one of these devices is using an outdated and insufficient operating system, the network of your business is also at risk. As an employer, we recommend you implement an ongoing monitoring strategy to ensure that each of your employees keep their mobile phones updated with the newest operating systems. Therefore, if they are accessing sensitive information via their personal mobiles, you are still protected.

For more information on cybersecurity, malware protection and malicious software, or to discuss our IT Support packages in more detail, contact our sales team today on 01444 41 66 41. We’d be happy to help!