Have you ever been annoyed by the seemingly constant updates your computer needs to go through? If you work on a PC, you might occasionally see a prompt letting you know that your computer will need to restart to install an update. But what you may not know is how important of a safety measure it is to keep your computer updated. Whether you are using a machine using windows, iOS, or other platforms, updates are what keep your computer secure and safe.

When new operating systems are designed, engineers make every effort to make their code secure and bug free. At the time of release, they will have typically fixed all known security issues with the platform. However, as time passes, operating systems become more understood, and sometimes vulnerabilities are spotted. These can be spotted by the technicians responsible for the system, independent analysts, or security experts who spot hackers using the vulnerabilities. When a vulnerability is found, the company behind the operating system will prioritize a quick and stable fix for the problem, and work to put out an update to all devices that could be affected.

The battle back and forth between security experts and hackers is a constantly evolving front. New pieces of malware are being created all the time, and it is only through updating our systems that we can ensure that we are more protected from newer viruses. If your computer is locked on an older version of the operating system, you could be at risk for viruses. Therefore, it is recommended that you update your system whenever possible, and as soon as possible once the update is released. Once a vulnerability becomes widely known, more hackers will begin to attempt to exploit it.

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If your system has not been updated regularly, then it might be wise to examine it for any malicious software that could have been installed during a vulnerable period. While updates can remove some types of viruses, others will persist. If your computer has been at high risk due to not updating your system, not using a virus blocker, or other reasons, be on the lookout for signs that your computer might have been compromised. If you are suspicious, or want to be certain that you have not been infected, hiring a professional to examine, clean, and repair your computer might be your best bet if you want to rest assured that your data is safe.