Y0ur P@ssw0rd S*cks is a bi-weekly column that answers the most pressing internet security questions web_crawlr readers have to make sure they can navigate the ‘net safely. If you want to get this column a day before we publish it, subscribe to web_crawlr, where you’ll get the daily scoop of internet culture delivered straight to your inbox.
Today, web_crawlr reader Lisa R. asks: when is the best time to update your devices?
Updates are a necessary – although often annoying – requirement when it comes to your digital devices. But when should you update? Immediately? Tomorrow? When you have nothing better to do?
Generally, updating your devices as soon as possible is your best bet. Updates often include important security patches designed to fix known issues, whether that’s on your device or on one of the many apps you use.
Most updates nowadays will give you a quick breakdown of what exactly is being updated. Sometimes the updates are purely aesthetic or could be introducing new features. These updates aren’t urgent but still worth downloading when you can. Updates mentioning security, however, are best installed as soon as possible.
How often should I update my devices?
Updating your devices is one of the simplest and most effective ways to stay on top of your digital security. Most devices now allow you to enable “automatic updates” as well that can be carried out when your device is not in use.
Not all devices will receive updates though. If you’re using an older model iPhone, for example, such as an iPhone 6, your device will be vulnerable. And unfortunately, some companies, whether they sell internet-connected cameras or smart toasters, don’t issue updates at all.
Beyond that, some people don’t believe in updating their devices based on the misguided belief that they will actually be safer. It’s understandable if you decided you didn’t want the latest version of Windows and instead wanted to stay with WindowsXP, but doing so makes your devices significantly more vulnerable to compromise.
Luckily, according to the Wall Street Journal, only three percent of people refuse to install updates, while 40 percent say they have automatic updates enabled.
In other words, updates are your friend. Sure, sometimes an app or device may introduce new features that we hate and it may be tempting to not update at all. But for the sake of security, updating is one of the most important things you can do.
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