Basically every week here we find a reason to remind you to do security upgrades, either by installing software updates or hardware/firmware updates on your devices… all of them. It’s pretty nice when hardware companies make it easier to stay up-to-date on your security patches, which is exactly what Apple has done with their Rapid Security Responses for iOS, ipadOS, and macOS. Today, we’ll take a closer look at what you need to do to keep your Apple devices secure.
Virtually all software needs updating. Cybersecurity problems, at their most basic, are simple errors or mistakes that happen because of the complexity of how software is made. You might not give much thought to how software actually turns out to be a useful tool, but there’s a whole lot going on behind the scenes to make your computing tasks look effortless. Today’s software is written in a way that programmers and engineers have sets of tools (libraries) that can be deployed to give them exactly what they need to piece together a fully-featured app. But with more complexity comes more possibilities that something will go wrong in the software.
This also means that changes to any of the libraries or the programming languages behind the scenes of your apps could expose a flaw, which is then exploitable by bad actors. Exploits are often features or functionality in software that nobody really uses, but that have been repurposed to degrade users’ security. We wrote at length about one such exploit just a few weeks ago, where attackers could use a feature that almost nobody knew was in Outlook to gain access to your network credentials. That exploit didn’t require a user to do anything to get attacked—the only solution was a patch from Microsoft.
Since the threat landscape changes along with any new releases or improvements to existing software, companies like Microsoft and Apple are regularly sending updates to us. Because of how exploits just pop-up, baked into our operating system already, it’s best to have automatic upgrades enabled in most situations. For both urgent or routine events, your IT team might schedule a time to push upgrades to your entire office.
With Rapid Security Responses, Apple is introducing a new way of updating software as soon as the patch is available. It used to be the case that Apple would wait to upgrade their browser and other operating system components along with feature updates, which meant that they would wait to package all of the changes together as a system update. Now, instead, they’re pushing security fixes for any software as soon as it’s available.
Apple’s Rapid Security Response
The best part is that it is an opt-out feature, meaning that it’s automatically turned on for your device. If you have an update Rapid Security Response available, then you will get a notification, and be prompted to restart your device when or if it’s necessary. Do not wait to restart the device and finish the update—these updates keep you from being easily attacked via an exploit that may already be used by the bad guys.
You can find settings related to Rapid Security Responses in the Apple menu > System Settings > General > Software Update. This screen can show you your operating system version, which will now include a letter at the end once Rapid Security Responses have been applied. You could turn it off, but this isn’t recommended, since these updates only fix security lapses that need to be cleaned up sooner than later.
Don’t let technology hurdles slow you down! Partner up with Crown Computers, a leading provider of Managed IT service in Carlsbad, because your business’s IT and security deserve the best treatment! Reach us today for a consultation; we offer quality business technology solutions around here in Carlsbad, Clairemont, Kearny Mesa, La Jolla, Mira Mesa, Miramar, Mission Valley, Pacific Beach, Poway, and Sorrento Valley.
-Written by Derek Jeppsen on Behalf of Sean Goss and Crown Computers Team