By Christina Shannon, Information Security Education & Awareness Manager

I don’t know about you, but I tend to roll my eyes when I get the little notifications on my phone or tablet telling me that a new update is available. It’s so tempting to keep pressing “Not Now”. Sometimes it takes a while, and you often can’t use your device while it’s updating, it can be so frustrating!

However, it’s really important to update your software, apps and operating system as soon as you can. Your Co-op equipment will update automatically, but delaying updates on your own laptops, tablets and phones is a mistake. It leaves the door open for hackers to access your private information, putting you at risk for identity theft, fraud, and more.

Updates (sometimes referred to as patches because they ‘patch’ security holes) help protect against some of the worst vulnerabilities that we know about. Many of the most harmful malware attacks we see take advantage of these security holes. In fact, security researchers tell us that as many as 85% of all targeted attacks can be prevented by keeping your device up to date with the latest releases.

So, don’t be tempted to delay software updates – see them as one of the most important steps you can take when it comes to protecting your information and take the time to allow the updates to run as soon as they’re available.

As Cyber Security awareness month comes to an end my top tips for keeping you and devices safe are:

  • Make sure automatic updates are switched on for software/apps on your own mobile devices and computers where possible. For software that doesn’t update automatically, make it a habit to regularly check for and apply available updates
  • Before downloading any software or updates, read reviews first to make sure it’s safe to install in the first place. Cyber criminals sometimes create fake applications designed to steal your information
  • As a general rule, be wary of pop-ups and ads asking to scan your computer or telling you that your device is already infected – these are likely to be malware!
  • Keep on top of the latest threats so you know how to protect yourself from known vulnerabilities. If you’re on Yammer, join our InfoSec Bytes group for regular news and advice