May 15, 2017
Avagio are happy to report that its been business as usual for our clients this morning. Despite the massive Wannacry ransomware attack over the weekend, all our clients have been protected by Avagio’s proactive Sleep Easy service.
One of the key reasons for this is that we ensure their computers are fully “patched” as part of our service.
What is a software patch?
Patching software is like maintaining your car: It will still run without maintenance, but driving becomes more and more dangerous the longer you go on without a check-up.
A patch is a piece of computer software designed to update an existing computer program in order to fix or improve it. Because software is written by humans there are always errors and mistakes and patches are written after software is released to try to fix these errors. Some of the errors are exploited by cyber criminals to gain unauthorised access to computer. Importantly, it can be months and years later that a vulnerability is spotted and a patch written and released.
As we have seen with Wannacry, software vendors occasionally release emergency patches which address a particular acute risk that has already been targeted by cyber gangs.
Pragmatically speaking, there are only really two things that users can do about vulnerable software: stop using the software, which is, in many cases, implausible or keep using the software and install security updates as early and as often as possible.
It is therefore critical for all computers to be patched on a consistent ongoing basis for the whole of their working life.
Surely we can set a computer to update automatically and we don’t have to worry about it?
This might be appropriate if you are looking after just one computer, but when companies have tens or hundreds of computers, just one insecure computer can bring down the whole network. And its very easy for automatic updates to stop working, fail or be inadvertently switched off by the user. In addition, many of the most vulnerable applications like Adobe Flash and Java are missed altogether.
The reality is, the only way to ensure ALL your computers are patched correctly and up to date is to make sure the whole computer estate is patched from a centrally managed service.
Avagio have developed a service called Sleep Easy which ensures all our clients computers are updated routinely in a timely fashion. If any are missed, our staff who monitor the patching every day manually push the updates and re-mediate the problem. This is time consuming but ultimately is the only way to be 100% confident that all computers are as up to date as possible.
If you would like help on managing your patching plan or security strategy please call us on 01249 654871.