We’ve talked about infections many times, at our location, in our newsletters, and here on this blog. But you might be asking yourself, just how do real infections act in the real world, without being filtered through a maze of possibilities and opinions that each infection seems to have.
Part 3: Patching Your PC
What Is a Software Patch?
A software patch is a small piece of code that is installed after the release of the original software that makes changes to either the functionality or security of the software. Many software patches are released to fix bugs or security holes that were not found in the initial testing of the software.
The Real Life Example
Infections such as the Conficker worm come in through computers by taking advantage of unpatched vulnerabilities. If these types of infections come in contact with a computer that has not been patched, it will continue to spread until it reaches a machine that has the appropriate security patch installed to stop the spread of the infection. Even a system that has had these infections removed but remains unpatched can be reinfected with the same infection over and over again until the patch is applied. Once these infections arrive, they can transmit information – including financial account credentials – back to the cyber criminals that originally released it.
How Do I Protect Myself?
The answer to this question is just as easy as it sounds; do your software updates when they become available! This includes the software you use as well as the operating system itself. Remember, any small, unpatched vulnerability can lead to huge problems! According to recent research, approximately 90% of successful attacks against software vulnerabilities could have been prevented with a simple software patch that was readily available.