Lately, there’s been a string of computer security issues making the news, like the vulnerability found within Internet Explorer, the Heartbleed bug, and the host of issues associated with the recently-expired Windows XP. Is it possible that the security patches issued by Microsoft are making the problem worse for users of older systems like Windows XP?
Microsoft has a well-known practice of releasing a security patch on the second Tuesday of every month. Microsoft users call this day “Patch Tuesday” and many PC users will instantly install the security patch as soon as it’s released. Another group that looks forward to Patch Tuesdays are hackers. For hackers, an updated list of what Microsoft has fixed can be utilized to target what still needs to be fixed on older systems that have yet to install security patches. Therefore, for users of the expired Windows XP and Office 2003, Patch Tuesday is a feared day because it’s like Microsoft is handing hackers a roadmap to their data.
Wolfgang Kandek, chief tech officer for the IT security company Qualys, explains the nature of this risk. “Studying what is being fixed with each month’s round of patches could give attackers an easy entry point into these older, now unsupported, systems, because these older systems probably have the same vulnerabilities.” To summarize, a newly-released patch is like an opportunity for hackers to discover patterns in what issues Microsoft is fixing, which they can then exploit to create new malicious codes to damage unsupported systems.
Now, you may be thinking, “I am running Windows 8.1, the latest OS from Microsoft, therefore this security risk doesn’t apply to me.” Not so fast friend. Microsoft has recently given Windows 8.1 users an ultimatum to update their new OS with “Windows 8.1 Update” by June 10th (August 12th for businesses) lest their systems also face the risk of hackers reverse-engineering a newly-released patch to find vulnerabilities with their unsupported system. Microsoft’s decision to not support Windows 8.1 unless the new “Windows 8.1 Update” is applied. This is a new strategy Microsoft is implementing to try and get users to take advantage of the latest updates.
Keeping track of the latest patches and vulnerabilities can be a chore, and an oversight in applying a patch or upgrading outdated software can leave your system at serious risk from hackers that know how to exploit your oversight. TMS can help protect your system by staying on top of the needed updates and installing security patches for you. We take a proactive approach to IT security that will put your business steps ahead of hackers and their attempts to exploit your system.
In addition to keeping your company’s system up to date, TMS can also provide your business with our remote monitoring service. This way, if there’s ever a new vulnerability that takes the Internet by storm and ravages computers worldwide, you don’t have to worry about it. You will know that TMS is watching over your network for any suspicious activity, and we will provide your organization with a security solution as soon as it’s available.
Don’t let a simple oversight sink your business. Call TMS at 1 (626) 737-2960 to take advantage of our proactive IT solutions!