Desktop management is a continuous and never-ending process, especially for monitoring potential security issues. IT administrators need to constantly safeguard network devices and update endpoints to prevent vulnerabilities. The need for efficient desktop management to thwart attacks against OSs has been evolving at an accelerated pace. An example is the ZombieLoad attacks that surfaced in May 2019 targeting computers that utilize Intel OS chips developed since 2011.

An overview of the OS upgrades to be released by Microsoft, Apple, and Linux to help IT admins stay current and thwart cyberattacks is provided below.

Windows 7 End-of-Life

The top priority for system administrators is migrating all endpoints that use Windows 7 to Windows 10 OS. With only three months left before the Windows 7 support deadline, all desktops and laptops need to be upgraded to avoid vulnerability issues. On January 14, 2020, Microsoft will end security updates and support for Windows 7 OS. IT admins need to stay alert—it’s not uncommon for hackers to wait until the end-of-life date to find ways to exploit vulnerable systems and wreak havoc.

Catalina—the latest macOS

Apple is releasing its 16th major macOS, Catalina 10.15, that exclusively supports 64-bit applications. This operating system will run on all devices that support Mojave, except 2010-2012 MacPros. The major enhancement of this OS is that Project Catalyst launches when Catalina support begins. Project Catalyst seeks to converge app development into a single effort—all iOS apps will be brought over to macOS, which means that an app can function on any Apple device without needing significant changes. The beta version of the software is already available, and the free update for Catalina will be available beginning in October 2019.

Linux OS updates

  • CentOS 8 – September 24, 2019

  • Ubuntu 19.10  – October 17, 2019

  • Fedora 31  – October 22, 2019

  • Tails 3.17  – October 22, 2019

  • FreeBSD 12.1  – November 4, 2019

  • Ubuntu 18.04.4  – Febuary 6, 2020

Almost all the major operating systems regularly release OS updates for their laptops and desktops. The need to upgrade is based on two factors: enabling users to enjoy new features, and securing the devices from malware that attacks and corrupts data.

Cybersecurity is a critical task that requires staying ahead of cybercriminals. Here’s a quick overview of malware that has coerced users to upgrade their OS in the false belief it will shield their devices.

List of latest vulnerabilities:

  • Joker is a spyware that integrates itself in Android apps and secretly collects user’s personal details that can then be exploited by hackers. It identifies the device location and automatically subscribes to premium packages offered in ads. The malware has affected at least 24 apps available in Google Play store.

  • CookieMiner is a malware that targets Mac computers and steals browser cookies from user’s Google Chrome and Apple Safari browsers. CookieMiner extracts stored passwords and credit card details, and hunts for the private keys of cryptocurrency wallets.

  • Linux servers can be attacked by Lilocked ransomware. Once infected, the victim’s data is encrypted and a note is displayed along with the encrypted files. It redirects users to a website on the dark web, provides a key to log in to the site, and demands that users make a payment in Bitcoin to get their files decrypted.

Although network devices are frequently upgraded, the growing list of vulnerabilities is still a concern for enterprises. This raises a quintessential question as to why is there a need for OS upgrade. Is it to be protected from a set of malware, or will you just become prone to another set of vulnerabilities? Is it optimal to dispose of existing worries only to fear the possibilities of having new security risks?

These concerns are predominant in enterprises with a large number of network devices. Enterprises’ unified endpoint management (UEM) tools provide an efficient solution by securing all the endpoints, upgrading to newest OS versions, protecting network data, and ensuring device security from a centralized location.

ManageEngine’s UEM tool, Desktop Central, is an all-one-solution that supports the latest Mac OS Catalina, and deploys Windows 10 upgrades to all the endpoint devices in the network. Simultaneously, it can provide patching solutions for the recent list of vulnerabilities, and can provide complete security to network computers.

Evaluate Desktop Central through a 30-day, free trial, and familiarize yourself with its capabilities, including efficiently performing desktop management, deploying upgrades, and providing enhanced security against malware and cyberattacks. Rest assured that Desktop Central will always be up and ready to manage and secure your network devices.

Nisha Balajee
Content Writer