Think nobody cares about your Raspberry Pi? Here’s why you must patch Raspberry Pi Linux Kernel with KernelCare live patching service.
The Raspberry Pi kicked off a computing revolution. In 2012 at Cambridge University, a small team envisioned a tiny, cheap computer that can help revive interest in computer sciences. The first version, Model B, launched for about $50 and had everything it needed to run a full computer operating system - support for Linux, on-board memory, and physical IO ports.
A fully functional computer that is that cheap was going to be revolutionary, and the Raspberry Pi has found a home with enthusiasts - but also with commercial users. In fact, the Raspberry Pi Foundation estimates that 44% of Raspberry Pi units are sold to industrial customers.
But it doesn’t matter whether you’re using your Raspberry Pi to experiment, in a novel role in your home, or for a serious industrial application. Your Raspberry Pi runs a fully-functioning operating system - with the associated security risks.
In this article, we explain why you need to keep your Raspberry Pi patched, and also outline how KernelCare’s automated patching for Raspberry Pi can help keep your device in tip-top and secure shape.
Your Raspberry Pi is a cheap device - but it is a real computer
The team at Cambridge University intended to bring a dirt-cheap, but fully functional computer to the market and that’s exactly what they did with the Raspberry Pi. You may think your Raspberry Pi plays a small role in your home or your operations, but it doesn’t mean that your Raspberry Pi doesn’t pose exactly the same security risks as a much bigger physical device.
Just like a PC or a server, a Raspberry Pi uses a full operating system. The Linux version is the most popular, Pi users often start off with Raspberry Pi OS, a Debian-based distribution. However, many Pi users switch to another Linux distribution or even something different altogether like RISC OS or Windows IoT Core.
The point is this: you need to view your cheap, compact Raspberry Pi as a full computer - not as an innocent, cute, harmless device. This goes for IoT applications too - that compact Raspberry Pi embedded in your industrial application might not look like a serious threat. But the full OS that it runs opens the same doors to cyber-security threats as a large server.
What if I don’t patch my Raspberry Pi?
Raspberry Pi devices are used in different roles and the security risks of an unpatched Raspberry Pi will vary on how you are using it. But, for all intents and purposes, an unpatched Raspberry Pi is just the same as an unpatched and insecure PC or server on your network. Just some of the things that can happen if you don’t patch your Raspberry Pi includes:
- Intruders can gain access to your network - your unpatched Raspberry Pi can act as the point of entry for a much wider attack.
- By sabotaging your unpatched Raspberry Pi, a cybercriminal can drive a denial-of-service attack that disrupts your commercial operations.
- Attackers can collect data sent via your Raspberry Pi, or manipulate the data flowing through it causing damage further down the line.
- Your Raspberry Pi may be captured and used for illegal purposes - or used for something resource-draining, like crypto mining.
There really is no difference between an unpatched, outdated PC or server and an unpatched Raspberry Pi. The risks are of an equal magnitude.
How to patch your Raspberry Pi
It isn’t difficult to patch your Raspberry Pi, but you will need to log into it and execute a few commands over the command line.
The Raspberry Pi Foundation has an excellent set of instructions on this page. First, you log into your device using a terminal. Next, you run a command that upgrades the kernel. You then need to run a command that upgrades the packages you have installed on your Raspberry Pi.
You need to run this process on ALL of your Raspberry Pi devices whenever there is a kernel update or updates to packages.
Hang on, this sounds like a lot of effort…
If you’re just experimenting with your Raspberry Pi, you might think it’s not worth the trouble to patch it every time. Likewise, if you operate hundreds of Raspberry Pi devices in an industrial setting you may feel that following the update process hundreds of times over is not worth the effort.
Skipping on patching is clearly not a good idea, but it is understandable that patching Raspberry Pi devices can seem like too much trouble.
But there’s an easy solution - KernelCare live patching for Raspberry Pi. And it’s FREE!
How free, live patching with KernelCare works
When you enroll your Raspberry Pi device with KernelCare patching becomes really simple. KernelCare automatically checks for updated Raspberry Pi software, and runs a live patching sequence to get your Raspberry Pi back up to date.
What is live patching? Well, you don’t need to restart your Raspberry Pi once the patch is complete - KernelCare applies patches to the kernel and to packages while your Raspberry Pi is up and running by safely pausing running processes.
This way you can ensure that any number of Raspberry Pi devices that you use are consistently patched, without going offline or causing outages in the services that depend on your Raspberry Pi.
How to patch Raspberry Pi Linux Kernel with KernelCare
Don’t take risks with your Raspberry Pi devices. These small but powerful computers require regular patching as much as any real computer.
Raspberry Pi enthusiasts can sign up for a free patching account with KernelCare, keeping their Raspberry Pi device continuously patched with no manual intervention. All you have to do is just click the following link to get started right away:
Do you deploy Raspberry Pi devices in an enterprise, IoT environment? View KernelCare's live patching for IoT page here, and get in touch with KernelCare to see how they can help you keep your Raspberry Pi devices automatically patched - and without device downtime.