We are all guilty of pressing the Remind Me Later button when we get hit with a software update. Odds are those notifications appear just as we're doing something important, and updating our software now means stopping our work. However, those notifications aren't just there to annoy us. Keeping your device's software updated is important because it can fix security and privacy issues. Especially with the myriad of privacy concerns surrounding smart home devices, keeping your software up to date is crucial. With outdated software, you are putting your device prone to vulnerabilities like data breaches and ransomware attacks.
In a general sense, a vulnerability is a defect in a device's operating system or software. These defects occur due to an error in the software's code, poor design, or flaws in the system itself. As mentioned, hackers can exploit these vulnerabilities to steal or manipulate personal data, launch ransomware attacks, install other types of malware or a backdoor to more exploits in the future. In worse cases, hackers can also gain control over your device and manipulate the original software to work differently than intended. A case in point is how Mandiant, a cybersecurity agency, reported how it found a vulnerability in the software of 83 million baby monitors across Taiwan. This vulnerability enabled hackers to access the visual and audio footage of the cameras and upload them to the web.
As a consumer, it is hard to realise when your device is being attacked, primarily if it uses software or hardware belonging to other companies. Therefore, though software updates may feel inconvenient, it acts as a safety measure to ensure your device and family's security.