Most people know the difference between software and hardware. However, how many people know what firmware is and what it refers to? More crucial, does your company make sure the firmware is protected against security vulnerabilities?
The business understands it requires that operating systems need to be up to date. Your operating systems and applications are protected from attack when you install patches as soon as they are released.
However, the firmware is often easily overlooked when establishing your cyber defenses. Edge, or some other web browser, is opened every day, and your business relies on Excel spreadsheets. Many do not think about the software that runs the hardware – the firmware.
The computer would not know how to detect the hard drive without firmware. The printer gears would not spin the paper through the device if not for it. Sound cards, network cards, routers, keyboards, mice, and more have it. Even your surveillance cameras and webcams use it to work correctly.
Firmware Needs Updating
Cyber crooks do not rely lazily on only one tactic. The bad folks are always looking for and finding new ways to hack your business devices and systems. This hacking includes exploiting the firmware. Your run the risk of falling victim to bad actors when you do not secure your firmware:
- stealing business data
- spying on business activity
- taking control of your business computers
Many businesses think they are safe from cybercriminals because they have antivirus in place. However, hackers get around this by embedding malware into the firmware. In the past, it was easy for them to guess at it because manufacturers did not make security a priority. That has changed now that firmware exploits have the manufacturer’s attention.
Now manufacturers will continually release firmware updates for at least a few years after the initial release. The ultimate goal is to make sure the device is stable and secure for your business.
You can find firmware updates online on the manufacturer’s website. The updates are typically found on the device support page. Make it a policy to look for update releases continually. This way, your business is always up to date with new patches that fill the gaps and fix vulnerabilities.
Taking Care of the Business
Too many businesses are not giving much thought to firmware threats. It is usually a set it and forget it mentality. Once the devices are set up, there is little to no thought about the possibility of compromise in the future.
For example, in the Avast Threat Landscape Report for 2019, 60 percent of users never updated their router firmware. That is bad because router hijacking can occur by injecting malicious HTML and gaining access to usernames and passwords.
Companies are becoming more reliant on technology, specifically connected technology. We can thank Wi-Fi and the Internet of Things for that. But this reliance widens the attack surface for cybercriminals. It would help if you did not become complacent. Apply those firmware patches when released to all your business technology.
Now that we know what firmware is and why it matters, this does not mean you are any closer to updating it. Partner with me, and we can have an audit conducted of all your firmware and find any holes that need plugging.
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