The belief that there's no point updating software is music to virus writers' ears. They want you to believe that there's no need to update software, as this is one of the easiest ways to get access to your computer. Granted, sometimes you will update your software and there's no apparent change. This is because the change is in the code of the product – it's patching a security flaw which has been found. When you don't update your software straight away, that flaw is a gateway for hackers to exploit.
Here's how it works:
- The software company discovers a vulnerability in their product.
- It creates a 'fix' for the problem and sends the update to all users.
- Hackers are users too, so they also receive this message. It usually takes them two days to reverse engineer the fix to find out where the flaw is.
- The hackers create a virus that targets the known vulnerability to gain access to your computer.
- The hackers spread the virus through emails and attachments or by infecting an SMS/MMS message.
- Any device which gets the message and hasn't patched the vulnerability will be infected.
Some people are disappointed when they update software and there are no additional features or style changes, but really, the best updates are the ones where nothing noticeable changes because these are the ones that will protect you.
Malware protection is especially important for users of PCs, Android devices and Macs. Luckily, iPhones come with built-in anti-virus protection, though they do still require browsing protection to avoid visiting dodgy sites.
To keep safe online and protect yourself from vulnerability, TalkTalk is offering SuperSafe Boost powered by F-Secure, a security package with eight device protection which will stop viruses in their tracks, even ones hidden in emails or within files. Eight-device protection is FREE for Plus TV customers, and for all other customers it's £2 per month (and it's worth over £100 a year). You can also try it out on one device for free here.