July 29, 2021
Whether you are a faculty member, student, or staff, inevitably you’ve worked more from home in the past 16 months than ever before. If you use a personally-owned laptop or PC not managed by UF technical staff, chances are your device(s) aren’t up to date. Outdated devices allow cybercriminals to exploit bugs, so it’s important to secure them. There is an easy way to protect personally-owned devices and the data on them: patching.
A patch, also called an update or software update depending on the device manufacturer, is released to fix security vulnerabilities and other bugs. Applying the update as soon as it’s released is important, because they are often in response to a known vulnerability or virus. Updates not only improve the security of your device, but often provide additional functionality, usability, or performance of features. All software has bugs, and manufacturers constantly identify and patch these–just as cybercriminals constantly look for bugs they can use to attack devices and steal data.
A good way to stay current with patches is to enable automatic updates. Read item #1 on https://security.ufl.edu/resources/protect-your-computer/ for simple instructions to enable automatic updates on Mac and Windows devices. Another good tip: Reboot your laptop, smartphone, PC, and other devices each week, rather than just closing the lid or logging off. Completely shutting down and restarting devices helps to install and apply updates. You can learn more tips on the Information Security Office website.