PRO­TECT YOUR­SELF

UP­DATE YOUR DE­VICES TO PRO­TECT YOUR­SELF FROM HACKS

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The best way to pro­tect your de­vices and pri­vacy from hacks is to keep them up­dated. The re­cent Wik­iLeaks rev­e­la­tions, which showed that the CIA can com­pro­mise a huge range of de­vices, shouldn’t send you into parox­ysms of fear over your smart­phone.

The CIA had ac­cess to data stored on the de­vice and even to en­crypted mes­sages sent through pop­u­lar ser­vices like What­sApp, Sig­nal and Tele­gram. In other cases, the hacks can turn gad­gets like a Sam­sung Smart TV into lis­ten­ing de­vices, Wik­iLeaks said.

It should, though, be a solid re­minder that one of the best ways to keep your­self safe from hack­ers is also one of the sim­plest: Up­date your gear.

What al­lows hack­ers ac­cess to your de­vices, af­ter all, are break­downs and vul­ner­a­bil­i­ties in the op­er­at­ing sys­tem that runs them. Many com­pa­nies push out up­dated ver­sions of that firmware reg­u­larly, and those re­leases of­ten in­clude im­por­tant se­cu­rity up­dates. A re­cent ex­am­ple, in Jan­uary 2017, Ap­ple pushed out iOS

10.2.1, which which patched over a dozen vul­ner­a­bil­i­ties-some of them ma­jor.

That’s an ex­treme but not iso­lated ex­am­ple. And while there are plenty of other tin-foil hat strate­gies to se­cur­ing your dig­i­tal lives, the ab­so­lute sim­plest, surest way to achieve a base­line of pro­tec­tion is usu­ally just to hit “up­date.”

With that in mind, here’s how to keep all of your gear as up to date as pos­si­ble. Find a few hours some weekend to back up your stuff, and then bang out the up­date. It won’t make you bul­let­proof, but it should grant you some much­needed peace of mind.

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