3DSC 2.1: Operating System Updates

Welcome to Day 1 of the Thirty-Day Security Challenge! Today’s task is not flashy or even terribly interesting, but it is one of those tasks that is absolutely critical to security.  Today’s task is to install operating system updates.

Keeping your software up-to-date is an incredibly important step in securing a computer.  As software ages, security holes are discovered in it.  Attacks are written to take advantage of these holes.  Though software updates are occasionally released to add features and to deal with bugs, they are very often written specifically to patch security holes.  If your operating system is outdated it becomes vulnerable.  These vulnerabilities are also well-publicized by virtue of the fact that patches exists to fix them.

INSTALL OS UPDATES

Difficulty: Easy
Time: 5-10 minutes active setup, 30-120 minutes inactive time while updates download and install.
Periodicity: Ongoing; happens automatically.
What it Protects you from: Malware, remote access, privilege escalation
Threat Models: All

Operating System Updates for Win 10

Windows’ updates have changed pretty massively since the last installment of the 30-Day Security Challenge. Windows now comes out of the box configured to automatically download and install updates. To be honest there isn’t much work you have to do here. To view your updates open Settings.

Windows OS Updates

One change you may wish to make here is the active hours. This tells Windows when it can install updates, preventing inconvenient restarts.

Windows OS Updates

OS & App Updates for Mac

Mac OS X:  To update your OS in macOS, open the App Store.  If a badge is displayed on the App Store icon you have updates waiting.  If you think there may be updates for your machine go to the top of your screen and open the “Store” drop-down menu and select “Reload”.  This will manually check for updates.

macOS OS Updates

To ensure that future updates are downloaded and installed automatically, open your Mac’s System Preferences and click the App Store icon.  Make sure the following boxes are checked:

  1. Automatically check for updates,
  2. Download newly available updates in the background,
  3. Install app updates,
  4. Install OS X updates, and
  5. Install system data files and security updates.

macOS OS Updates

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