Chromecast End-of-Life Announcement Highlights Urgent Need for Patch Management Reform Among Hybrid Workers
Joao CorreiaJoao Correia

Chromecast End-of-Life Announcement Highlights Urgent Need for Patch Management Reform Among Hybrid Workers

By Joao Correia, Technical Evangelist for Tuxcare

In April this year, Google announced the discontinuation of support for its original Chromecast device. The first-generation Chromecast had been a highly successful hardware venture for Google, with an impressively long lifespan in the consumer market boasting sales surpassing 10 million units in 2014 alone. While newer generations of Chromecast will remain functional for users, Google’s decision effectively put an end to technical support, updates, and security patches for the initial devices.

This move by Google presents potential challenges to security teams around the globe, as a significant number of companies continue to embrace their hybrid or fully remote operating status brought on by the pandemic. According to a recent study conducted by the Pew Research Center in early 2023, approximately 22 million individuals are presently engaged in full-time remote work, and thus it’s fair to assume a considerable portion of them may still be using Chromecast devices within their home networks.

Past incidents involving data breaches have illustrated the risks associated with outdated home systems and a lack of security awareness, as they can unwittingly compromise entire enterprise networks. Neglecting to keep software systems up-to-date has also proven to lead to an ever-growing number of vulnerabilities that are ripe for bad actors to exploit.  A noteworthy example occurred in March 2023 when LastPass experienced a massive breach due to an oversight by one of its engineers who failed to update Plex on their personal computer. This oversight resulted in a deserialization flaw that affected a Plex Media Server running on Windows, permitting a remote attacker with authentication to execute Python code within the context of the current operating system user.

While employers may learn from such attacks and enforce consistent patching requirements for individual devices connected to internal systems, Chromecast devices now remain vulnerable. Without the ability to automatically secure itself through a provided patch, it could serve as a stepping stone for attackers to gain access to other systems in the home network and subsequently, the enterprise network itself.

Currently, companies can spend millions every year to patch, document and report results. Yet they will opt to delay their updates and security patches by weeks or even months. This is largely due to the fact that security leaders and IT teams view patch management as a highly disruptive and time-consuming process disrupting operations due to server reboots and scheduled downtime.

Such hesitance to maintain a consistent patch schedule creates a highly exploitable attack surface that can become a ticking time bomb for any remote employee or unsuspecting business. This is where live patching comes in to streamline the process without disrupting systems. Live patching is a relatively new approach to enterprise security that works by intercepting and modifying code at runtime, without interrupting the system’s normal operation or modifying the underlying binary.  Having this system in place that can apply an automatic patch as it becomes available can not only reduce system downtime, but it can also provide substantial labor cost savings, eliminate maintenance windows, and free up understaffed IT security teams.

Implementing more robust security measures for remote access to corporate networks will ensure potential breaches cannot take down an entire enterprise system. According to a recent Tessin report, nearly 90% of IT leaders and CISO’s agree that a strong security culture is imperative to maintaining the required security posture, while a third of employees do not think they play a role in effective cyber mitigation. But employee behavior can place companies at a huge risk of falling victim to cyberattacks, with human error one of the biggest risks to cybersecurity today.

Human error can manifest itself in a multitude of ways, from weak passwords to failing to install software security updates on time, to accidentally giving up sensitive information to phishing emails and malware threats. The risk has only increased as office employees have moved to the more preferred status of remote work. Staff working from home are often outside the direct oversight of IT teams and often struggle to deal with cyberthreats and appropriately protect company information. In fact, remote work has effectively removed the notion of a security perimeter around networked corporate IT assets. While technical solutions like zero trust, mobile device management systems or spam filters are useful for end-users, they do not offer the level of protection needed to properly reduce risk, and offer no additional security to devices present in home networks but not directly used to access internal enterprise systems.

Going beyond awareness and fostering a real culture of cybersecurity requires implementing tangible strategies that are rooted in safeguarding sensitive information and materials. Traditional methods of controlling and securing company data aren’t always as effective when employees are working in remote locations. This ultimately places a greater responsibility on the individual and companies must empower their employees to deal with a certain level of risk. From aggressive security awareness and anti-phishing training that maintains a frequent schedule, to multi-factor authentication tools and strong password management, employees need to serve as the first line of defense against potential attacks.

Ultimately, the announcement of Google Chromecast’s end of life serves as yet another example why both individuals and businesses must remain vigilant and up-to -date in their security measures and vulnerability management. As criminals continue to evolve in their hacking efforts, defending against new attacks via a reliable patch management system and other proactive security measures can make your organization a far less appealing target for bad actors.

About the Author

Chromecast End-of-Life Announcement Highlights Urgent Need for Patch Management Reform Among Hybrid WorkersJoao Correia serves as the Technical Evangelist at TuxCare (, a global innovator in enterprise-grade cybersecurity for Linux.

Joao can be reached online at @jcorreiacl and at our company website

January 18, 2024

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