Everyone among us must be aware of what hardware is. But are you aware of the average life of any hardware?

Right now, many of you must be thinking what a stupid question if you use your system well it goes for as long as you live or have a desire to change it. All it takes is care and effort to maintain it.

Well, I appreciate your zeal to preserve hardware for a long time. Of course, the cost friendly idea. Also, this is what our elders teach us.

But, has anyone told you what cybersecurity risks it can cause you?

No wonder if no one has yet. We tend to use things till they die. And this habit is good but now when it comes to security related to Hardware.

Average life of hardware product – Cybersecurity Risks it possesses.

I know what all you must think is that Cybersecurity is related to software, not hardware. Isn’t it ?

Stop wondering if you are wrong! Because you actually are.

Cybersecurity is related to systems and a system comprises both – Software and Hardware!

Hardware is as important a component as software is. Both can make you a victim of confidential information leakage or any other data leakage.

Let’s get an idea of threats an outdated hardware can cause you.

Yes! Outdated Hardware can cause you security issues.

Here are a few cybersecurity risks associated with outdated hardware.

Not a right fit for anti-virus:

Rapid changes in technology needs rapid development in securities too. An old hardware is, many times, not supportive enough to carry advanced cybersecurity softwares. Here is the point. Imagine something new up in the market, say Ransomware, there is the cure to it but your hardware doesn’t support that cure. What a waste of money it will be to buy software which your outdated hardware cannot take up completely and leave you vulnerable to hackers. Not done, right ?

There can be many scenarios where you will not even realise how bad your hardware is treating an antivirus or a good cybersecurity software you have purchased with hefty expenditure.

Who would like to wake up being a victim of leakage of data after spending too much on software ?

Hence, if you want to secure yours or your client’s confidential information make sure you spend on hardware too! Having only mental strength to fight a virus won’t do any good unless your body is physically fit.

Leaving your backdoor is not a wiser choice:

Okay, here is one more question for you. Do you guys sleep while Leaving your backdoor open ?

No, right. Then, how can you sleep with your system’s backdoor open for hackers ?

Yes, an outdated hardware is their backdoor without any latch. With advanced and complex hacking techniques it’s easier to enter through an outdated hardware. Creating a possible cybersecurity threat to the organisation.

In recent years many security researchers have observed backdoors left by manufacturers and malicious third parties.

With less security and standard checks in the past years it was an easier way to put code inside hardware which can cause a huge threat today!

Even the United States Department of Defence is working to develop standards for evaluating the security of hardware components along each production stage to avoid more such scenarios.

As it is observed that detecting such flaws is really a difficult task. And many of the older systems have them.

A news you have to rely on:

Learn from other’s mistakes because we got no time to do all of the mistakes available in one life.

Nvidia, a company, designers of graphics processing units for gaming companies and other professional markets, has disclosed a series of flaws in their GPU display drivers (hardware) which had leave them vulnerable to a range of cyber attacks.

One should know the vulnerability their hardware possesses. There is the only way to find a fix – find the loose-end.

Another news – According to a 2019 report by Dell, 63% of organisations accepted that they had been a victim of at least one data breach in the past year, the reason being hardware security vulnerability.

Convinced yet!

If not, keep reading. Here are a few more.

Old man is weaker to defend against physical assault:

No matter how experienced and mentally strong an old soul is. Physical assault is something that would take it down.

Image your hardware being that old man. How easily accessible it is for the hackers to breach your old and exhausted hardware!

Also, hardware and software evolved over time and are still evolving but to make their optimum use they both need to support each other. If anyone is left outdated it will not be able to take the other fully and will leave you exposed to threats and vulnerabilities.

On top of that all software programs have a minimum requirement to operate and work in the best possible way. With hardware upgradation software becomes more powerful.

Also, in the opposite scenario where hardware will age more software might not be able to work as it requires. Sudden shutdowns, unresponsiveness, data lost are few examples of hardware not supporting the advanced and updated software.

Meltdown time!:

Everything comes with an expiry date. But a few things have a line saying ‘once opened, use it for ‘n’ number of days/months/years.’

Same is with the hardware. You might not think it has expired yet. Or maybe some of you are in thoughts that you haven’t used it as much as you should have.

All arguments accepted!

Here is one question, you bought a medicine with an expiry of 3 years. The box had 7 pills in it. After 3 years there are still 2 left. Will you consume it ?

Or, you got a car 15 years ago. It’s only driven for say 30,000 kms. Can you still use it without re-registering it with the argument that you didn’t use it as much as you could ?

Then, why hardware ?

Do you know that outdated hardware is vulnerable to meltdowns and spectre ?

Meanings –

“Meltdown breaks the most fundamental isolation between user applications and the operating system. This attack allows a program to access the memory, and thus also the secrets, of other programs and the operating system.”

“Spectre breaks the isolation between different applications. It allows an attacker to trick error-free programs, which follow best practices, into leaking their secrets. In fact, the safety checks of said best practices actually increase the attack surface and may make applications more susceptible to Spectre.”

Home for unwanted softwares:

Malicious software like viruses, spyware, ransomware, and other unwanted software can secretly install itself onto your old and outdated hardware. The malware can steal, alter, or read your data. Additionally, they can send undesirable or inappropriate ads, ransom your encrypted data, and make your device vulnerable to even more malwares. Making it a place for malwares and viruses to enjoy a jam!

Slowing down, crashing, not restarting or shutting down, inappropriate ads, new icons you never downloaded an app for, resetting to default settings, displaying new tabs or websites you never searched for etc. are the all things these can do. And your costly antivirus softwares won’t work as they are not compatible for weathered out hardwares.

So, what is the right way to avoid these security issues? 

To avoid leakage of confidential information and keep your organisation/yourself safe use hardware maximum to its average life. Stick to it.

Optimum useful life

According to the Government of India, Ministry of Communications and IT Department of Telecommunication, a guideline was issued (No. 8-11/2012-13/IT-I) dated December 26, 2014.

Type of Hardware

Average lifespan

Desktop computers

5 years


4 years or till is certified by NIC of the Ministry, whichever is later.


5 years

UPS (excluding battery)

5 years

Battery of UPS

1 year after warranty period

LAN Switches

5 years

Dumb terminals

5 years


5 years

Data cables

5 years


In there disposal methods are also explained in brief.


To avoid risk, prevention is required. It is on one’s choice to be safe first or be a victim first. According to reports around 22,000 cybersecurity breaches happen per day which makes it 8,00,000 per year. Over 70% organisations use outdated hardwares in the general scenario which is not only a threat to the environment now but also a significant threat to security of data. It’s high time we all have been taking cybersecurity lightly. Time to act is now. As Abhijit Naskar says – “No technology that’s connected to the internet is unhackable.”


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