Update Your Computer, Devices, and Software
Why Update My Software?
Cybercriminals are always looking for vulnerabilities in software and operating systems to exploit. Tech companies look for and fix these vulnerabilities with security patches distributed through updates. That's why your best defense is to keep all of your tech (hardware and software) updated. Keeping your devices updated is the first line of defense to protect NYU’s network and all of us!
Whether NYU-owned or personally-owned, any device that connects to the internet should be protected by the latest updates and anti-malware software.
What to Update
Make it a habit to check for updates and restart your computer at least once a week when you are connected to a trusted, password-protected Wi-Fi network. The easiest way to stay secure is to set your device to automatic updates. Do not update while connected to open or public networks, as this can leave you vulnerable to malware.
Update Operating Systems: Before taking action, check with your school or unit IT team to confirm the latest OS update is compatible with your device. To update your Windows or Mac OS, go into your computer's settings or system preferences and search for updates. Operating system updates are never distributed via websites or email attachments, so don't fall for these phishing attempts!
Update Apps, Browser Plug-Ins, and Other Software: Don't forget to update your computer's programs and software. Check for updates to your internet browsers and software, such as Zoom and Adobe, and set up automatic updates when possible.
Update Mobile Devices: Update your mobile devices' operating systems settings and apps through the official Apple App Store or Google Play Store. And don't forget about gaming consoles and internet-connected devices at home.
NYU IT and school/unit IT teams use tools such as BigFix and Workspace One to install and update security software (Cortex XDR and InsightVM) for NYU-owned computers in use by faculty, researchers, administrators, and staff. This security software allows IT professionals to quickly detect, respond to, and remediate cyber incidents and vulnerabilities. Learn more about NYU IT's security options at Secure Your Computer, and contact the IT Service Desk to make sure your devices are set up.
Students and adjunct faculty using personally-owned computers should set up automatic updates and restart devices regularly. Faculty, administrators, and staff should check with their unit IT to install anti-malware software on their personally-owned computers. One license of NYU-issued antivirus and anti-malware protection is available at no charge.
When to Update: Often!
Ransomware and other malware often look for vulnerabilities in common software, so install updates regularly to get the latest security patches. Backing up your devices to an offline source protects your data even in a worst-case scenario.
Remember, updates are important to prevent attacks! If an update has been issued and you haven't downloaded it, your data and device are vulnerable.
If an OS or app is no longer supported by the manufacturer, no longer eligible for security updates, or you no longer use it, remove it from your machine.
EOL software and hardware are no longer supported or updated by the manufacturer. The Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Agency (CISA) states “Continued use of EOL software poses consequential risk to your system that can allow attackers to exploit security vulnerabilities. The use of unsupported software can also cause software compatibility issues as well as decreased system performance and productivity.”
In terms of device operating systems:
- Windows 7 and prior versions are no longer supported. To find out which version of a Microsoft OS your computer is using, see the following article.
- For Macs, Sierra and prior versions are no longer supported. Please note that Mac OS High Sierra 10.13 has a support end date of 11/30/20. To find out which Mac OS your computer is using, and to see a list of OS versions, see the following Apple support article.
The same goes for old devices. If your devices are no longer eligible for updates, it is time to upgrade to a newer model. Older devices are insecure and may no longer be supported/protected by the manufacturer, putting you and the rest of the NYU network at risk. Older devices that haven’t been updated may soon lose access to NYU Wi-Fi.
Devices and operating systems no longer receiving updates that you should replace:
- iPhone 5 or earlier
- Samsung phones 2016 or earlier
- Google phones 2016 or earlier
- Windows 7
- Windows Vista
- Windows XP
- MacOS 10.12 Sierra or earlier