Vulnerabilities in software and hardware are as common as weather changes in Northeast Ohio, and they aren’t going away any time soon. A few years ago, Intel announced vulnerabilities in virtually every computer processor produced, and its largest competitor, AMD, has its own challenges regarding vulnerabilities. While Apple fans often tote the brand as being more secure, Apple is not exempt from these threats, either.
This past week, Apple pushed an emergency update to all devices to combat newly discovered exploits that allow for full and unrestricted access to a user’s device from a remote attacker by exploiting a bug in Apple’s kernel.
So why so many vulnerabilities? The programming behind any application can consist of hundreds of thousands of lines of code.
As this huge dataset is edited by the thousands of programmers responsible for upkeeping and updating a project, perhaps mistakes are made; but more likely, changing vast lines of code to provide a feature update introduces an unexpected result – after all, this code is just translating what the user wants to do (send a text message, for example) into a language that the computer can understand. Sometimes, things get lost in translation.
In some instances, vulnerabilities in applications and software can exist for years before being discovered and exploited; and in other cases, new methods of attacking and exploiting software are developed.
So, what can we do to combat these attacks? Following best practices regarding password security, file encryption and safe web browsing techniques is essential. And as developers push updates, especially security updates, it is best to update to the new software as quickly as possible, even though the side effects can be frustrating – such as broken features due to the new security measures.