Due to the fact that computers are programmed by humans, hackers discover and exploit security issues daily. In order to protect yourself and your data, you need to keep your computer software up to date.
While the patches put out by Microsoft and other software manufacturers sometimes address malfunctioning features, they generally fix security holes discovered. Here are some suggestions:
- Set your operating system to automatically install updates so that you get the updates more quickly. If you are not comfortable with this option, install updates the same day each week. Reboot if asked to do so.
- Set your antivirus and antispyware software to automatically install updates.
- Run a full system scan (antispyware) at least monthly. Do so weekly if possible.
- Install software security patches as soon as you are notified. This suggestion is especially important for software like Adobe Reader and Microsoft Word because they start automatically when you choose to open a file associated with these programs. These are only examples – there are many other programs that fall into this category.
- When installing new software always check for updates. There is no telling how long the product has been on the shelf.
As always, exercise caution. When a warning pops up indicating that you need to update, read it to make sure it’s coming from software you actually have installed.
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