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Here's why it's important to update your phone's operating system

How this simple step can save you from being a cyberattack victim.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Here’s the scenario: You're texting with your best friend or maybe using your phone for driving directions when you suddenly receive an alert that your phone's operating system needs to be updated.

Do you update your phone right away or do you ignore the update until your phone reminds you over and over again?

If you picked the latter, you could be making way for criminals to infiltrate your phone and gain access to your personal information.

“Most of the OS updates that we see these days have to do with security flaws,” Hank Schless, a security solutions manager, said. 

He said the updates you get from time to time on your phone are essential for fixing not only security flaws but major holes in code that could cause big-time problems should you ignore them.

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“There's no such thing as perfect code and that goes across any sort of development especially with mobile operating systems so it's inevitable that a new OS is going to have flaws in it that cyber attackers find ways to exploit and take control of the device," Schless said.

This can make you a target for hackers to steal your identity or worse and it can happen without you even knowing it.

“With the amount of social engineering that can happen across social media, third-party messaging platforms like WhatsApp, email, SMS, iMessage, even honestly, even gaming and dating apps, people can have you click on a link that actually quietly in the background executes code on your device that then exploits that vulnerability and allows them to take control of the device or have access to particular data," Schless said.

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Remember this information the next time you get an alert that your phone's operating system needs to be updated.  

“Do it," Schless said. "Just do it. It's worth the five minutes without being able to use your phone."

Contact Carolyn Bruck at cbruck@wcnc.com and follow her on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

WCNC Charlotte is always asking "where's the money?" If you need help, reach out to the Defenders team by emailing money@wcnc.com.

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