Laptops, mobile phones, smartwatches, and pretty much anything that runs software, hardware, or communicates with other devices runs on an operating system. Which means an operating system is pretty important. Essentially it is the brain behind the hardware, software, and memory and is the communication point with other systems. Without it, your device is a really fancy paperweight (if those were things people still used). But there is one other piece to an operating system that is important…critical actually. The operating system must be up-to-date.
An up-to-date and current operating system typically brings with it new features and different settings, but most importantly, it offers better security. Security from cybercriminals that spend their time trying to figure out how to hack you and your business and generally cause chaos in your world. Not convinced? Consider what happened to a water plant near Tampa Bay that was still running the Windows 7 operating system. A system that began the sunset process in early 2020.
In early February, hackers remotely infiltrated a water plant in a small city and attempted to increase sodium hydroxide levels in the city’s water. Why did they do this – not sure exactly, but the scary part is that they were able to. And the hack is linked to an out-of-service Windows 7 operating system and an extremely poor password strength and hygiene. Luckily, no severe damage took place, but the fact that the a hack happens should really cause anyone who is still using Windows 7, or other out-of-date operating systems to act now!
You see, when operating systems are deemed out-of-date and go through the “sunset” process, support is no longer offered. It also means that things like security updates, bug fixes, and service packs stop. Performance, usability, and security degrade over time, and cybercriminals wait for the right moment to pounce. Yes, there are options to buy Extended Security Updates (ESUs), but even those run out over time, and they are expensive. You are better off making the switch to a new operating system with its current security offerings. An operating system with support receives software bug fixes, receives necessary updates, and is compatible with antivirus software.
If you happen to be on an old operating system, like Windows 7, here are some tips that we urge you to follow:
- Update your operating system to the latest version (please do not push this off any longer).
- Update your antivirus, spam filters, and firewalls.
- Install security patches and software bug fixes when they come out (do not skip these updates).
- Implement strong passwords/passphrases to protect Remote Desktop Protocol credentials.
- Implement multi-factor authentication.
- Support your internal cybersecurity team, or outsource your cybersecurity needs to a reputable MSP. Among many things, they will continually audit your network, network configurations, and logs for potential issues and threats.
- Keep your tech current!
Yes, we know the process of upgrading an operating system and computers can be time-consuming and may bring with it some unexpected costs. But that is nothing compared to the time loss and costs associated with a cyber-attack – especially one that could have been prevented.
If you need assistance in optimizing your cybersecurity strategies, you should contact us to speak to a cybersecurity specialist. Intivix is a proven leader in providing IT Consulting in the Bay Area. Contact us at (415)-549-9681 or send us an email at [email protected] today, and we can help you with any of your questions or needs.