The Importance of Windows Updates and Patching.

Patch tuesday, exploit wednesday and the comforts of automatic patch and update management.

by Gavin Manzi / May.24.2018 / 2:15 PM ET
 Please wait While Windows Updates, this may take FOREVER.

Please wait While Windows Updates, this may take FOREVER.

We’ve all been there. That little notification in the corner of your screen that pops up and pesters you to apply Windows Updates. The video drivers need updating, the print drivers need updating, and even Windows Update needs the occasional update! As bothersome as they may seem, these updates serve an extremely important role, and they could be what stands between you and a very real security breach. 

Their intended purpose is to quickly push out bug fixes that may be occurring and create a safe operating environment for your workstations. When you browse the internet, your computer is at the mercy of its current protective measures. Viruses, malware, and rootkits are always on the search for security holes to exploit and gain entry to your personal data. Because even the best antivirus software can't guarantee 100% protection, making sure Windows patches are current, offer the best chance of protection from exploits and security vulnerabilities.

 

windows automatic updates: not so automatic

The Microsoft Windows Automatic Update feature always seems to send you alerts of important updates when you’re in the middle of something critical. These pop-ups ask you to allow the updates to be installed or even request a *gasp* system reboot! The temptation is easy enough to ignore the update or cancel the shutdown. Your computer still works, you’re doing something important right now, so why bother ruining a good thing? Simply put, software updates whether big or small are important. Much like changing the oil in your car, updates are necessary. Computers and the software they host require regular updates to ensure they continue to run safely and efficiently. Viruses are ever-evolving, which also means your operating system, antivirus, and other applications should continuously evolve as well. It’s quite easy to ignore system updates for a while and fall behind the times, becoming vulnerable to new threats.

 

"If it’s important enough to push an update for, its important enough to install!"
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patch tuesday & exploit wednesday

Patching is meant largely as a preventative measure rather than a curative one. While you may not always be aware of future or present threats to your system, the developers who produce these updates make their livelihood in knowing about these risks. Microsoft is quite well known for establishing “Patch Tuesday”, where they regularly release patches for their software products (usually the second Tuesday of the month). The vast majority of them are security updates -- the really important ones. These are regularly identified in various parts of Windows: ActiveX, Internet Explorer, and .NET Framework are just examples. Even if you do not run the respective software that is being updated, it's definitely a risk not to patch it, simply because it is installed on your system. Just because you don’t use the back door to your house doesn’t mean a thief won’t try it.

Frighteningly enough, the day after Patch Tuesday is known in the industry as “Exploit Wednesday”. The reason for this being, hackers and other nefarious actors know that there is a strong probability not everyone has applied the newest patches after they get rolled out. A quick analysis of the patch notes can alert them to previously unknown ways they can take advantage of all the unpatched devices on the internet. 

what's the solution?

Here at Netwurx, we are able to provide our customers with the peace of mind that all of their computers and network appliances are patched and up to date with Kaizen Workplace. More importantly, these updates are vetted, approved, and applied immediately after they are released, meaning by the time you arrive at work on "Exploit Wednesday", you can be sure you're safe from attack and won't be pestered by Windows notifications or reboot cycles, we've already done it for you! In fact, we trust Kaizen Workplace so much, we use it for all our work and personal devices as well.

related: Kaizen Workplace Whitepaper

 

 

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