We often see popups on our computer screen telling us about Software Updates or Operating System available for the computer. But we usually tend to click “Cancel” and not “Install Updates”. Installation of these updates may take somewhere from less than a minute to a few hours in case of large updates. These updates may perform one of the following functions:
- Install new features
- Apply some security fixes to the existing software
- Increase support for more hardware or have compatibility with external applications
- Other changes
They are important because:
- As mentioned above, they apply security fixes to the existing software or introduce new features.
- They introduce stability in the computer.
- Updates ensure that your computer and hence your data is secure and protected against latest threats.
- They protect your friends and relatives also as some malicious programs propagate from one device to another by various means.
A hotfix is an update that addresses a specific problem in software and a patch addresses multiple problems. An upgrade replaces older version of a product with a newer version of the product.
It is for the above-mentioned reasons only that while opting for a software, you should choose one which is well maintained and regularly updated.
Since computer applications are basically programs written by humans, and humans tend to err, there always is a possibility that there is some problem with the program’s code. Such problems are called “bugs” in technical jargon. A person who is aware of such a bug in a computer may take advantage of the same to get unauthorized access to all the data and files on the computer system. The need might for system updates will be much clearer with an example. A “bug” was present in Equifax’s web application (Equifax is a consumer credit reporting agency in USA) which led to leaking of personal data of 143 million US citizens in 2017. A fix was apparently available for the bug about two months before the data breach actually happened. But since Equifax’s application was not updated, it was left vulnerable.
From the above, it is evident that system updates play an important role in system security and we should always apply latest software updates to our computer. An additional exercise that can be done by users is to check the details from the software vendor’s website about what the software update contains and thus apply it immediately if it concerns the user.
Software updates is not limited to computers only, and you should always update your other devices including mobile phones and tablets as well. Now-a-days, mobile devices are becoming more and more widespread. Even applications are becoming more and more mobile specific. Due to increasing focus on mobile phones, some applications are there whose only mobile version is available. Due to this, mobile devices are being targeted in an increasing manner.
This post is written by Amandeep.
For Wikipedia entry on Patch, click here.
For Wikipedia entry on Upgrade, click here.
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