Ditch your older device

As devices and systems get older, they stop receiving security updates. This leaves them vulnerable to cyber attacks.

Technology is constantly improving and manufacturers are producing new models with better in-built security features. Providing special fixes for older models without these features becomes time consuming and expensive for manufacturers to support.

Instead, manufacturers pick a length of time that they will support them. After that date, they are known as end-of-life devices and any new security issues will not be fixed which leaves the devices at a higher risk of cyber attacks. This is like a best before date for your phone and tablet.

These unsupported devices will always be a risk to the owner, the information on the device, and other devices on the network. The best fix is to replace with models that are still supported by the manufacturer.

If you’re unsure if your device is still supported, search online for your model and “end-of-life” or ask the manufacturer.

End-of-life devices are risky

  • No new security fixes.  As the device nears their end-of-life, they no longer enjoy the security updates issued by manufacturer and service providers. For example iPad1 and 2 are no longer supported by Apple and Windows XP is no longer supported by Microsoft.
  • Reluctance to retire old devices.  Many people don’t want to get rid of older devices because they seem to still work and it can be expensive to buy new ones. When people buy new phones or tablets, they often give their old phone to family or friends, passing the risk to them. Some people might not know their devices are either approaching or past their end date.

If you have an unsupported device

  • Plan to replace it.  Know how long your tablet or phone will be supported for and always plan to replace it before it reaches end-of-life. Start planning to replace your end-of-life devices as soon as possible.

  • Reduce your data. Don’t store data you care about on it, in case the device is corrupted and the data is lost. Ensure that any data stored on the device, is also backed-up on a separate hard-drive or online. This includes important documents, photos and emails.

  • Delete some apps. Delete any apps you aren’t using any more or don’t need. Keep the ones you do need current with updates from the official app stores.

  • Apply safe-use practices.  If you can’t replace the device, lower your security risk by practicing safe-use. Consider turning off Bluetooth and all WiFi.

Avoid buying EOL devices.

If you’re buying second-hand, or handing down a device to a family member, find out how much longer the device will be supported for. Given the security issues, we recommend against purchasing any phones or tablets that aren’t supported any more. A virus on an unsupported device can infect other devices on your home or business network and cause even more problems.

Visit CERT NZ for more information. 
Visit ACSC for more information.