Playing the “Yet Another Vulnerability” Game

Last month, technology news was all about Apple’s “OMG Patch Right Now Or Hacker’s Can Mess With Your Stuff!” (You saw the news about that, right? Like our short and sweet Twitter thread, or one of the longer articles about it.) Anyway, right before Apple’s moment, it was all about some new issues with infec

One day, technology news is all about Apple’s “OMG Patch Right Now Or Hacker’s Can Mess With Your Stuff!” Another day, it’s more “Chrome Zero-Day Vulnerability! ACK!” Or even “Cyberwar is going to impact us all!” 

Who else is exhausted?

It just gets too hard to be worried about All. The. Things. All. The. Time. Computers are just going to break again tomorrow, right? Yes, but let’s make it fun and do something about it! Even if it’s just a chore like … grocery shopping. Besides, in life, there’s always SOMETHING, right?

Verse 1: Managing Your Devices is like Grocery Shopping

If you want to eat, you have to do your chores. For most of us, that means going to the grocery store. Every week. It’s just one of those things you have to do as an adult. And as the world goes increasingly digital, managing your devices—keeping them patched, upgrading so you keep getting those security patches, and making sure access to your devices is controlled—is necessary. 

So let’s talk about how to make it easy! With grocery shopping, it’s all about the list. With device management, ok, it’s a little bit more complicated. (What did you expect? 😉) But we’re on top of this with you! Identity Flash Mob has the choreography to teach you what steps to follow. 

Verse 2: There are Tricks To Doing It Well

What you can do in five minutes: 

  • Unless you have a REALLY GOOD reason not to (like, your employer controls what you can do with your device) then do a quick web search on how to make sure that your apps and your operating systems update automatically. (Like this page for Apple devices, or this one for Android, or this one for Microsoft.)
  • For bonus points, go ahead and do a quick manual check before you go to bed so you know if you need to leave your device on a charger so it can update while you sleep.

What you can do in thirty minutes:

  • Not only do your apps and operating systems need to be secured; you also need to make sure your passwords are secure. We have lots of guidance coming up in one of our Patreon pages, but here’s a sneak preview: go to your phone’s password management settings and see if it gives you any warnings about your passwords. If it does, you have your next item to check off your list: change that password.

What you can do to feed your inner geek:

  • Install anti-virus software. Which is considered best practice by all, but it is also kind of tricky to do, and it doesn’t prevent every security vulnerability from impacting your digital world. But! If nothing else, it can let you know if something is changing on your device that you didn’t expect, and you’ll probably get newsletters that tell you when something crazy is going on in the digital world that you need to worry about. 

Verse 3: Play to Win the Vulnerability Game

Avocados have a season. So does security support. It would be too easy to say “All devices end security support after this very specific number of years” because of course different vendors have different schedules. You can, however, be on top of this by preparing to replace your device every few years and upgrading your systems as needed. If your device is so old it can no longer accept a new operating system update, that’s what’s known as a Subtle Clue (kind of like how dropping an anvil on your foot is a Little Painful) that you waited too long. 

Coda (wrap up)

There will be another important vulnerability announced next week. And the week after. And the week after that, too. I don’t know what they will be, but they will absolutely happen. And just like how you have to get food in your house, you get to be in control of making sure you have secure devices in your house. Don’t be afraid to learn a little more and DO a little more to secure your digital world. Your online shopping, gaming, and socializing will thank you for it later.

If you got through this blog post and are STILL scratching your head, we’d love to hear from you. Feel free to leave a comment below or send us a message right here on LinkedIn! We’re committed to empowering EVERYBODY to understand how to navigate this digital world of ours. 

(Originally published in October 2021; updated for April 2022)

Photo by Matthew Henry on Unsplash

Posted by heather

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