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Software Updates

The number one method that computers are attacked is through security holes in software.  No software is 100% secure and never will be.  The best defense is to update ALL of your software with vendor provided patches as frequently as possible.   

Microsoft has made the biggest strides in making software updates easy, mostly because it is the number one target by a very wide margin.  All versions of Windows from 2000 through XP can have automatic updates from Microsoft.  However, Microsoft Office packages still not fully automatic.  Automatic updates are the best way to keep your computer up to date and the least hassle.  Microsoft has made the automatic Windows Update operate completely in the background, even when you only have a dial-up Internet connection.  For Office products, upgrading from Windows Update to Microsoft Update is the best solution.  http://www.microsoft.com/protect/computer/updates/mu.mspx   Viruses often use holes in Office to find their way on to machines, because most people who run Windows Update rarely update Office.

Almost every software vendor publishes security patches for their software.  It can normally be found on their website under support.  Software that automatically updates itself with security patches is become more common, drastically lowering the burden of keeping up on security easier on the average user.  If you don't know if a particular software package has updating built in simply search for "updates" in the applications help. 

There are a lot of myths about dangers of running updates immediately upon release.  In the past this was very true as software vendors would rush to release patches when vulnerabilities were discovered.  The patches were not thoroughly tested and would break more than they fixed.  Vendors have learned a lot from their mistakes, and patches are safer than they have ever been.  The risks of not patching as soon as possible are increasing very rapidly.  Just three years ago the average time from discovery of a vulnerability to a attack was over six months. It is now down to five days!   Your risks of problems from not patching are now much higher than the potential problems from the patch.

Patching alone will not keep your computer safe.  It was once unheard of to have an exploit on un-patched vulnerabilities, but today they are occurring at an alarming rate.  Minimizing your exposed risks with an arsenal of tools to protect your computer is essential in today's world.

Family Watchdog offers subscription services to keep your computers up-to-date and secured with the best software.  Contact us for more details.

 

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