With the number of security threats circulating on the Internet today, it’s critical that you keep your computer systems up to date to help protect yourself against some of those threats.  Running Windows Updates is important, but it’s only one piece of the puzzle.  You must keep your other software updated as well.

Windows Updates

By default, Microsoft enables automatic updates to run at 3:00 AM each day.  We recommend that you leave your computer on at least a couple nights each week so that it can install any outstanding updates.  We also recommend that you configure Automatic Updates to update all Microsoft products.
 
It’s a good idea to run updates manually once in a while.  Microsoft has some updates that will not install automatically because they require you to accept a license agreement first.  If you’re running Windows 7 or 8, watch out for the update to Windows 10.  In a business environment, we don’t recommend upgrading to Windows 10, unless you know for certain that all of your software and devices will be supported by that operating system.  The license agreement for Windows 10 has some very shady language that has led many computer experts to brand it as a legal form of spyware, so you will want to spend some time adjusting the privacy options if you decide to upgrade.

Antivirus

While antivirus software isn’t as effective as it once was, it is a very necessary piece of the security puzzle.  Almost all antivirus solutions will update their virus definition files automatically, but they may not update the program files automatically.  It’s a good idea to check for updates manually once in a while, and always be sure to check the software provider’s website on occasion to be sure that you’re running the latest version.

Java

Java is arguably one of the biggest security threats to PC users today.  Our recommendation is to not run Java, unless you have a specific need for it.  If you do have Java installed, be sure to keep it updated, and make sure that old versions are uninstalled.  You can uninstall old versions in the Programs and Features section of the Windows Control Panel.

Web browsers

Firefox and Chrome have their own automatic updates, and normally these updates happen in the background with little to no impact on your day to day computer use.  Occasionally, you will get a pop up notice to restart these programs to install new updates.  Internet Explorer gets its updates through Windows Updates.  We recommend that you use Firefox or Chrome as your default browser, since they are less prone to vulnerabilities.  If you must use Internet Explorer for some reason, be sure your Windows Updates are running successfully!

Other Software

Almost all software will have some type of security issue and needs to be updated from time to time.  You may think that since your software isn’t accessible to or from the Internet that you’re protected.  To a certain extent, that may be true, but malware today doesn’t necessarily stop at infecting just the files associated with the application that caused the security breach.

If you get a notification that a piece of software needs to be updated that you’re not sure of, do a quick Google search for the text in the notification message, and include the text in the title bar of the message box.  If you’re still not sure, don’t hesitate to give us a call to verify that the notification is legitimate.