Opinion: It's time we all cared more about digital security

It's time to stop clicking the 'Cancel' button when it's time to update

Most of us have a love-hate relationship with Windows updates. They always seem to want to happen at inopportune times, and too often for our comfort.

Right now, though, those updates are the only things keeping people safe from a ransomware attack that is spreading all over the world. From personal PCs, to hospitals and universities, there has been an estimated 200,000 victims in at least 150 countries, all prey to a malware called 'Wannacry'.

Stop the Windows nostalgia

Whether businesses or individuals, too many of us resist upgrading to the latest operating system. It makes sense for businesses to wait; some applications need to be updated to run properly on new operating systems and the cost of upgrading PCs can be prohibitive for smaller businesses.

The reality is that updates aren't just cynical cash grabs; as cyber attacks become more frequent, security needs to be tightened. Trying to fix older Windows versions such as XP and 7 is like trying to patch an old, leaking boat. Sure, it can still tread water but it's just waiting to sink.

If the prospect of commiting to Windows updates seems tiresome or expensive, consider whether you really want to stick with Windows. Mac OS updates are free, though the hardware is pricey and Linux versions offer not just a free OS but free applications.

It's the 21st century: we have come to depend on technology for our communication, work and personal needs. It is time to learn that the price of that is a need for vigilance, for self-education.

If it's too tiresome for you to learn about security, find someone who knows enough to help you with it. And at the very least, today, make sure your PC is updated. Because Microsoft has made the effort to provide a critical patch to combat Wannacry, to even Windows OSes that it no longer supports. So if you're still hanging on to XP or 7, update. If you're on Windows 10, stop stalling, update.

Think of security not as an inconvenience, but an essential part of the digital experience. Better safe than to be hostage to hackers, especially when all you need is to click "Update".