Is Your Computer Up To Date?

March 31, 2010

One of the most important things you can do to keep your computer safe is to keep the software on it up to date.  Most people are familiar with the updates Microsoft provides using the Windows Update tool and most people apply them regularly whenever they show up. This is a very good practice but it is only one necessary step to keep your computer safe. If all your computer’s applications are not kept up to date, your computer is vulnerable to attack.

Often times when we see a reminder on out computer that “A new version of program xyz is available” we will simply disregard it or click on remind me later. While this is definitely more convenient, it is incredibly important to apply these updates.  Some examples of programs which especially need to be kept up to date are: Adobe Acrobat Reader, Adobe Flash, Java, Apple Quicktime, all anti-virus software, and all Microsoft programs.
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According to an article in the journal “The Register”, Adobe Acrobat Reader is the most exploited application.  Acrobat Reader is the most popular program to read PDF files, though there are many other programs out there that can do this. As of March 2010, the latest version is 9.3.1 You can download the most recent version by going to http://get.adobe.com/reader/.

When running updates be careful what options are checked. Often times sponsors of programs will bundle toolbars in with the installation. See this article on toolbars as a reference.  When installing Java updates for example, it will often have an option to install a toolbar with it and the option will already be checked. It is advised that you go through the update carefully to ensure that you don’t have that option checked.  Also, if you want to be sure you are applying the correct updates, for home users there is an excellent free tool called Secunia Personal Software Inspector which will tell you what programs are out of date, and it will show you where to get the most recent updates/versions for your programs.

If you see options for installing updates on any programs on your computer, it is advised that you install those updates. To run Windows updates you can go to http://update.microsoft.com/microsoftupdate/

If you need assistance installing updates or are unsure if you are up to date, please give us a call at 651-454-7729 or send an email to help@emersontech.net and we would be happy to help.

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