The Importance of Patching Systems

Computer update

Why is Patching Important?

You must patch your system…You must install updates…

How many times have your heard this?  Maybe you’re saying, “too many times” or “I know…I will” or “that’s IT’s job”.  Unfortunately, many people still do not take responsibility for updating their systems on a regular basis.  Hackers know this and are using this fact to access systems to steal your data and ultimately, your money.

Let me start by saying that I am not an application developer and don’t fully understand the intricacies of code development.  But I do know that the applications we use are complex.  For example, Windows 10 has approximately 50 million lines of code, and Office 365 for Mac has approximately 30 million lines of code.  Now, consider the fact that these applications are created by many teams and stitched together to provide a robust and versatile tool.  While these applications are thoroughly tested for bugs and weaknesses, the reality is that it is impossible to make them ‘perfect’.  Continuous development occurs to fix/improve the application based on further testing and feedback from consumers.

Hackers seek “bugs”, “flaws”, and vulnerabilities in the code; there are ample tools available to find them.  They often inject their own code into vulnerabilities to make the application work for them.

The race begins – hacker trying to find vulnerabilities vs. application developer trying to find/fix their bugs and release updates vs. the consumer installing the update.

Confused person

Are you as a consumer doing your part?  Do you know what to do?

It comes down to patching your systems on a regular basis.  The best approach is to configure your applications (i.e. Windows) to automatically check for new updates and download them.  Then you simply install it when the pop-up occurs.  You can Google “turning on windows updates” for help to set it up.  Some applications that you use may not have this capability and you must manually check for updates and install them.  It is a good practice to check for updates monthly.  Keep in mind that it is unlikely that all applications will have updates every month.  Finally, limit the applications that you install on your computer.  More applications mean more time needed to check for updates.

We rely on our computers and the software they run for everyday work and pleasure.  These devices are complex!  We must understand and accept that software updates provide the necessary maintenance to keep your system running effectively and safely.  One can draw parallels to the importance of maintaining a car.  Clearly, not the same.  However, not maintaining your PC can get you into financial trouble if a hacker gains access to your information.  By the way, today’s modern car has a lot of software running, which also needs to be updated.

If you have any questions or need some help improving your cybersecurity, please contact me at

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From the WELL Cybersecurity Division
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