How important are security updates for my website A good idea for you and for everyone else

On Black Friday in November 2016 a hacker locked the fare terminals of the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) and demanded a ransom of $73,000 in exchange for unlocking the terminals. The agency restored their systems and were back up and running the next day but the damage was done. Not only did they have to certainly pay the IT staff to perform the work but they also lost a half day’s worth of fares on one of the busiest shopping days of the year. Why did this happen? A security update from Oracle which had been released in November 2015 had never been installed.

Security vulnerabilities are discovered all of the time and in the most cases are patched quietly and updated quietly. In many cases your computer does it automatically and leaves little for you to do except to restart it when it tells you to. But for every update that is released there is documentation that goes along with that update which will serve as a roadmap for anything who wants to exploit it. Cyber criminals live for this since they know most people do not update immediately and some never do.

Your WordPress website is no different. With WordPress being as popular as it is for web development it should go without saying that it will attract a larger proportion of criminals to it much the same way most viruses and malware are developed for Windows rather than Macs. WordPress is used for nearly one quarter of all websites worldwide. Any vulnerability could potentially lead to a criminal taking control of your website. Who knows what they will do? They could erase everything off of it. They could post disturbing images on it rather that your desired content. They could lock it and demand a ransom the same way they did with the SFMTA, after all ransomware attacks are on the rise.

Your website is your business. It is an employee that works 24/7 and does not need a coffee break or bathroom break. It is a store that stays open 24/7 to display your goods or describe your services. It is an important component in your business that in today’s world cannot you cannot be without. Keeping your WordPress site’s security updates up-to-date is essential. You paid a lot of money to get it up and running and for hosting, make sure it stays up and running by keeping the security up to date.

Oh, there is one more thing. Chances are there are other sites that share the same hosting space that you occupy. If your site is compromised that could lead to their sites being compromised as well. Not updating could not only lead to a loss of business for yourself but a lot of other unhappy business owners getting mad at you. At the very least do it for them. They are doing it for you.

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