Even though the Wanna Cry attack that crippled computers worldwide at the end of last week was targeted toward insecure Windows systems, the advice I will present here is intended for all.
All of my Mac and Windows clients should have their systems set to automatically prompt to install and in most cases, install, operating system updates. These minor updates are the security and stability fixes that help prevent major attacks. I know that my Windows clients are getting the updates pushed directly to their computers. Macs will always prompt, but I know there is an option in System Preferences as to whether or not you actually want the Mac to go ahead and install the updates. That option should be on. (Please ask me how to check if you cannot figure it out by going to Apple Menu >> System Preferences >> App Store. All options should be checked in that section.)
The only way that one of my clients would not be getting these critical operating system updates for Windows or Mac is if they regularly shut down their computers after use. Shutting down was an acceptable practice in 2003. It’s not an acceptable practice today. The security of your system and the data contained on it is too important.
On all modern computers, your security updates will be installed if you simply let the computer go to sleep. Sleep mode cuts off about 95% of the power to your system. If it’s a laptop, it should be connected to power when you let it sleep for the night. The critical updates will get pushed out without much interruption to your life. If you are going away for several days or several weeks and do not plan to use the computer, you may want to shut it down. Even then, I am not saying it is a must.
Your modern Windows or Mac system runs serviceable software that may need an update at any given time. Put yourself in a secure position by allowing this process to happen. That is a proactive line of defense that doesn’t require a whole lot of effort on your part.