2012 has all ready seen a flurry of software updates and patches get released. Besides Microsoft’s usual “update Tuesday” (the second Tuesday of every month), Adobe, Java, Apple, Firefox, are just some of the other software vendors to have released regularly scheduled or out-of-band updates to their software so far this year. With so many updates being released several people have asked me, “if I have an antivirus program and my Windows firewall is running, is it important to stay up to date with all of the software patches”. The answer is YES! People are taking a huge risk with the security of their computer the longer they put off installing any updates. The updates that are released can not only improve the appearance and functionality of software loaded on your computer, but in many instances can be issued for security purposes as well. Cyber criminals are always looking for vulnerabilities in software to exploit, and the software companies work vigorously to patch these threats. Many of these updates are released to patch vulnerabilities that are currently being exploited or potentially could be exploited, and that is why you should install any and all updates as they get released.
Here are some general guidelines for applying updates:
- Subscribe to automatic software updates whenever they are offered. For example, you can set up Microsoft updates to be downloaded and installed automatically when they become available.
- For software that cannot be setup to automatically download and install updates, either visit the company’s website to get updates, or use the programs search for updates option.
- Reboot the computer if that is needed to complete the install of a patch.
- Never click on links in emails or open email attachments that claim to be software updates. For example Adobe will never email updates as an attachment.
- Uninstall software that you don’t use. In Windows 7 you can use the Programs and Features Control Panel item to remove any unwanted programs.
Stay updated and stay secure.