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A vulnerability is no cause for panic
Thursday, December 22, 2016
Many people have gotten bad news from their doctors. If you know you’re ill, should you panic? Or should you do your best to ensure that you have some kind of quality of life?
Manufacturers are always discontinuing support for obsolete operating systems, applications, devices and platforms. Companies eventually disappear or are bought out by other companies that discard whatever projects the previous company was working on.
To keep going, IT companies have to promote new hardware and software. But most users aren't too eager to switch out the software programs they’ve gotten used to. After all, it’s an expense, and there are always new features they’ll need to adjust to. Many people simply don't want to learn how to do things in a new way, especially when their old tools work just fine.
But unsupported software contains vulnerabilities that will never be fixed. Does this mean that it will always be vulnerable to attacks?
Actually, it's not that simple.
- Any device can come under attack, but criminals usually target the most popular devices and platforms—Android and the growing number of malware targeting it is the most telling example. The less popular your software or device is, the less likely it is to be attacked. However, if criminals exploit a vulnerability to compromise brand-new devices, your system will come under attack, too, although it won't be a priority target. For example, malware that is intended to operate in China may emerge in other countries.
- However, a known vulnerability in the software on your PC or smart phone shouldn't frighten you. Surely, there are additional vulnerabilities you don't know about either! On the other hand, simple attack vectors most likely won't work because your software or device would have had its loopholes patched back when it was still being supported by the manufacturer. Meanwhile, new gadgets and applications are in the spotlight, and criminals are devising new ways to compromise them.
The Anti-virus Times recommends
- Always use an anti-virus in systems for which support has been discontinued.
- Follow basic security rules: configure your system so that no new software can be installed in it, use an account with limited permissions, and exercise caution on suspicious sites. This will significantly reduce the risk of infection.
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