Forgetting to patch your RAPID VM can hold you up just when you need the machine. RAPID VMs that are unpatched can be flagged for quarantine and removed from the network or, worse, hacked by miscreants.

Here are two simple tricks to help your Windows RAPID VMs avoid such unpleasantness and maybe even extend their life on the network:

  1. Visit the Windows Update panel (Start Menu > Settings > Update & Security) at least once a month to manually check for updates.
  2. Sometimes, applying “optional” updates can push back your VM’s end-of-life (EOL) date and buy you time before you need rebuild your VM with the most up-to-date version of Windows.  To find the version of your VM, navigate through Start Menu > Settings > System > About.  Then visit https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/help/13853/windows-lifecycle-fact-sheet to find the relevant EOL date.

Just as humans need to be quarantined at times, so too do neglected and unpatched VMs since they pose a great risk to the wider network. The IT Security Office generally provides warnings prior to a quarantine (https://security.duke.edu/quarantine-policy), but why not be pro-active with your VMs? Patch ’em!
As always, reach out to research_toolkits@duke.edu with questions or concerns.