FreePBX Distro is open-source communications software that unifies communications and consists of a Graphical User Interface (GUI). This GUI allows you to configure, manage and control Asterisk PBX software. Based on CentOS, the FreePBX Distro software maintains binary compatibility with Red Hat’s Linux.
If you are using FreePBX Distro it’s important that you keep the software updated properly. There are several ways that you can achieve this, but the most common is the automatic update. By clicking “Yes” on the Automatic Updates screen, you will toggle a schedule selection screen. This allows you to have FreePBX Distro be automatically updated, at a time of your choosing that best fits your team’s schedule. Once you’ve submitted the new schedule, you can move on to other, more pressing issues.
Another way to handle this process is to go with the manual update route. In the System Administrator screen, there will appear an “Update Now” button. You should see a warning message that alerts you to Asterisk possibly having an outage, should you choose to update the software.
While your system is updating, you will be able to view a status log window. If that isn’t something that you want to watch, you can click the “x” and go about your daily routine. After completing all of those steps, the real question is “Why is it necessary to keep FreePBX Distro updated?”
The answer lies in the fact that vulnerabilities and flaws in the software are exposed by a variety of elements. It doesn’t matter if it’s a logistical bug or a hacker, the end result is that the developers of the software are working hard every day to make sure that their product is running on all cylinders and giving you the best experience.
The developers uncover errors or inconsistencies far in advance before it ever hits their customers. By not keeping FreePBX Distro current, you are exposing your business to potential outages and performance-based anomalies in the future. It only takes a few minutes and makes perfect sense to perform them, immediately when the update notification hits your screen and to make things even easier, the developers of the software have created an add-on that allows for easy updates via the GUI, which saves time.
An example of one of these “flaws” could be that an unauthenticated remote attacker might have the capacity to run shell commands as one of many Asterisk users on any FreePBX machine. Coding errors and PHP quirks could cause certain Ajax requests to be unauthenticated. Not updating the FreePBX Distro software keeps this vulnerability open for potential problems.
Another problem that can create major headaches for your business lies in the internal time clock. If your system has time conditions enabled, it’s crucial that the clock is always accurate. If you should happen to see that your server displays the incorrect time, be sure to check the FreePBX web interface on the “System Admin” screen. The usual culprit tends to be the wrong time zone, so make sure that’s not the case. If that scenario fails to address the time stamp issues, the next logical step is to make sure the Network Time Protocol (NTP) service is running.
Little glitches can add up to downtime, server issues and long-term problems. Procrastinating on FreePBX updates is only going to hurt yourself in the long run. Erring on the side of caution, it’s best practices to make the necessary updates promptly.