Patching is considered important for improving and maintaining software security.
What are the risks associated with NOT performing regular patching on existing software? How does patch management make this process easier?
One of the most effective ways to manage cybersecurity risk is to manage the updates for the devices in your network. This is done through patch management. Today’s threat landscape is extremely diverse and, it’s rapidly evolving. For example, just this past year, we witnessed the emergence of the WannaCry and NotPetya/ExPetr/BadRabbit ransomware campaigns, as well as the most damaging hack in history, the Equifax breach. These attacks focused on vulnerabilities in the SMB and IoT space. Against this backdrop, patch management is more important than ever.
Software security should be addressed under three heads - Patch status, Configuration status and Vulnerability status.
Patch Compliance: ensures that "all known issues" with the software are addressed. Please do note that the software can mean - Operating system software or Application Software.
Configuration hardening: ensures that the software is configured to use "best security practices" to use the software. This may include password aging settings, password complexity settings, role-based user access, file permission settings. Please do note that even though the software has the latest patch, a weak security configuration can open doors for bad actors.
Vulnerability status: While Patching and Configuration settings may help address security issues that are of the known category, it is important to scan the software using VA tools to identify open vulnerabilities that may not have a patch or maybe a security setting workaround.
The risk of not patching:
-incompatibility between applications and the OS, or 3rd-party software,
-remote access/access in general to your network and ability to exploit, disrupt, steal IP, hold data hostage, or steal CCD or other compliance data (HIPAA, SOX, lab, research, etc)
-email and BEC compromise
So if you like spam or ransomware, go ahead and click on those embedded links on your unpatched PC. :)
Not Patching is like driving a car without a spare wheel in a jungle terrain. Regular patching safeguards you from at least the known perils.
@Ravi Khanchandani I love this - such a simple way of explaining the importance of patching.
Patching is the cornerstone of cyber hygiene. Due to the sheer volume of new vulnerabilities, the only way to achieve security is by using intelligence and automation in the patching process. Thus, every organization must remediate vulnerabilities on a regular basis to safeguard from cyber threats.