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News | Oct. 28, 2022

CSAM Week 4: Importance of software updates

By DCMA Information Technology

The Defense Contract Management Agency’s Information Technology Cybersecurity team champions Cybersecurity Awareness Month, or CSAM, to ensure good cyber habits. With the holiday online purchasing season approaching, October is the ideal time for personnel to learn about their cyber presence and the role cybersecurity plays in keeping DCMA, its customers and the warfighter secure.

Week four focuses on the importance of updating software.

Software updates — your role

New malicious software vulnerabilities are continuously emerging, but the best defense against attackers exploiting software code vulnerabilities is simple: keep your software updated, fixed and patched. This is the most effective measure that can be taken to protect computers, phones and other digital devices.

What are updates, patches and fixes?

Patches and fixes are software and operating system updates that address security vulnerabilities within a program or product. Software vendors may choose to release updates to fix performance bugs, as well as to provide enhanced services. Most OS updates are deployed to patch security vulnerabilities in programs; cybercriminals often deliver malware by exploiting these vulnerabilities.

Why update?

It is extremely important prioritized software updates to get the best performance from computers and, most importantly, to stay protected against cyberattacks and malicious threats. When computer updates are ignored, it is left wide open to compromise. Cybercriminals depend on users ignoring these software updates to keep their malicious endeavors running.

How does a computer get updated?

DCMA computers are on a periodic patch cycle that updates the software and operating systems automatically. Therefore, it is very important to leave laptops powered on and connected to the internet so the automatic updates can be pushed and applied during a patch cycle.

Remember: DCMA team members are required to reboot work computers at the end of each work day to ensure the system is ready to receive patches. In a DCMA office, systems automatically connect to the network during these reboots. In a telework environment, users should log back into their systems after an end-of-day reboot to ensure your network connection is reestablished. Once verified, remove your common access card, or CAC, to lock the screen without opening any applications; this will ensure the system stays connected and can receive patches.

DCMA IT will send email notifications with directions when it’s time to update DCMA-issued cell phones.

For more information about software updates or other cybersecurity topics, visit the agency’s Cybersecurity Awareness Month 365 page (login required).