What Is A Patch And Why Do We Need Them?

A patch is a small piece of fabric used after the construction of a garment, typically, to mend a tear or other blemish or vulnerability.  The term has been around for a very long time, of course, but only recently it has become more commonly used to describe something very modern.  When it comes to Hikvision technology, a patch is just a small piece of software—often quite simple—which attempts to address certain potential risks or issues, like the hack 2017 which exploited a security flaw.

DISCOVERING SECURITY FLAWS

Anyone can discover security flaws.  Hopefully, a helpful user or an engineer finds the flaw before a cybercriminal does.  Experts, researchers, and even experienced and knowledgeable “hobbyists” hunt for these vulnerabilities to determine the need for such patches.  Typically, patching protocol involves alerting the software developer as soon as possible in order to develop and apply the patch.  Of course, the goal is to keep this discovery private, so as to minimize the potential for anyone to attempt to thwart the exploit.

PATCHING SECURITY FLAWS

Unfortunately, it is not always easy to determine what type of security flaws might arise upon the release of a piece of software. While programmers and engineers do what they can, of course, to anticipate potential risks, certain vulnerabilities may arise over time. And if these risks and vulnerabilities are not addressed quickly, those who might want to exploit them could do just that.

A patch, then—the simple piece of software—works just like a cloth patch: covering the flaw to restore security.  This, of course, attempts to prevent exploits of this flaw.

WHY WE NEED PATCHES?

If we do not identify and install patches quickly, you could argue that the whole of your security software is useless.  A single vulnerability could render an entire network vulnerable to any number of attacks from a massive variety of malicious software (or “malware”).  If you do not find—and fix—the security flaw before a cybercriminal finds it, you could put your system and your network at risk for:

  • Viruses
  • Malware
  • Ransomware
  • Adware
  • Trojans
  • DDoS attacks

Of course, these are only a few of the potential threats you could prevent with a patch; and the severity of these threats depends on how the cybercriminal chooses to employ the threat and exploit the security flaw.

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