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  • Essential 8 strategy 6 – patching operating systems

    Picture this: the lock on your front door breaks just as you're going to work, leaving your house vulnerable to intruders. Do you either:

    • ignore it – it's not a big deal and you're running late
    • write yourself a reminder to fix it when you get back from work
    • get it fixed straight away – it's too risky to leave it broken?

    Most of us would fix it as you never know what could happen when you're not home. The same principles apply to your operating system. It's the backbone of your device and is responsible for managing apps, software and hardware.

    Strategy 6 – patching operating systems

    Patching, or updating, systems cover a device's software, servers and network devices. We've previously discussed patching apps that are downloaded to your devices under Strategy 2 of the Essential 8 strategies.

    It's crucial that you keep both your systems and apps updated because it's not just your business information that's at risk. Your clients' information is at risk too.

    Cybercriminals track when these updates become available and can create malware within 48 hours that targets the identified vulnerability to try and gain access to your systems. It's crucial you run these updates as soon as possible.

    Here are 3 ways to keep your systems updated and protected:

    • Turn on automatic updates – this can take the stress out of manually updating your systems and ensures the patch is applied as soon as it's available.
    • Replace unsupported software – if an operating system is no longer being updated by the vendor, your data is more vulnerable to a cyber incident.
    • Apply a vulnerability scanning software – this can help identify holes in a system that need patching.

    Implementing this strategy alongside the previous ACSC Essential 8 strategies keeps your systems under lock and key from cybercriminals who are constantly scanning for unsecure doors.

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    Last modified: 24 Mar 2023QC 71859