Information Technology Services
Information Technology Services

What is a "vulnerability" on my device? How can these be exploited?

Cyber criminals are becoming more and more savvy at gaining unauthorized access to your devices and data. Exploiting system vulnerabilities involves using a software or hardware vulnerability to gain access to your device or the systems on which your device operates. Cyber criminals create a malicious code to target a vulnerability in a program or system. If your operating system, software, and browsers are not running the most up-to-date version, there is a possibility that your device doesn't have the latest security patches. This leaves it vulnerable to exploitation. The Wannacry ransomware is a good example of how vulnerabilities can be exploited.  

Why should I care? 

Your system can be compromised and you can become infected without your knowledge – you may not even notice that your device is being accessed until your data is compromised. If you are not part of the solution, you are part of the problem!

How can I prevent the exploitation of vulnerabilities on my system? 

In order to prevent the exploitation of vulnerabilities, you must ensure that all software and operating systems on your device(s) is up-to-date. Programs such as Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox and Safari release updates often to combat vulnerabilities and protect users.

Regular updates to your operating system also ensure your system has the latest patches to secure vulnerabilities. You can set your device to automatically detect when an update is available and ask you to schedule the install. 

What do I do if my system is compromised due to a vulnerability? 

  • Immediately shut down your device 
  • Bring your device to the IT Support Centre to scan and install updates and patches 
  • Change all of your passwords and security questions 
  • Set your device to regularly detect and schedule updates