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National CyberSecurity Awareness Month Tip: Keep your operating system up-to-date!

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#1 Grinler


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Posted 05 October 2010 - 03:35 PM

In this article we focus on making sure all security updates are installed for your operating system. When developers create an operating system there will ultimately be errors in their programming that could lead to vulnerabilities that allow malware and remote users to execute programs and scripts on your computer without your permission. When these vulnerabilities are discovered the operating system developer will release a security update that fixes this vulnerability and makes your computer secure again.When security updates are not installed, not only is your computer at risk, but it can cause other computers to be at risk as well. For example, if there is a vulnerability that a network worm can exploit, and your computer is vulnerable, then it can use your computer to spread to others. On the other hand, if you had applied the security update, the worm would have infected your and therefore you would not aid in its propagation. As you can see, the more people who apply security updates the less of a risk for a network worm to cause wide-spread infections.Unfortunately, though, many people ignore these updates because they either do not know they are available or do not know why they should install them. Quite often when I go to family or friend's houses and use their computer, I see the little Windows shield stating that there are updates available to install. When I ask them why they did not install the updates, I am told because they weren't sure what they should do, so opted to do nothing.I am now going to tell everyone what to do when your operating system states that there are security updates available. Install the security updates NOW! By doing so you are not only protecting your private information, but also others who may become infected from your computer. All you need is one vulnerability to allow a hacker to access your computer and potentially steal your credit card info, bank account info, and other personal information. Once that happens, there is a good chance of identity theft and a horrible credit score. Security updates are also not the province of just Windows operating systems. Linux, Unix, and MacOS have vulnerabilities as well. In fact a recent report by Secunia shows that in 2010 Apple released more security updates than all of the other large vendors. Therefore, do not think that just because you are using an Apple that your computer does not have security problems. This is just not true. All operating systems have security vulnerabilities and all operating systems release patches that fix them. So regardless of the operating system that you use, you must always install the security updates that are released.Thankfully both Microsoft and Apple make it easy to install updates when they are released. Windows utilizes a service called Windows Update that can be configured to automatically notify you when new updates are available to install. It also includes the ability to automatically download and install them for you. For information about how to use Windows Update in Windows and Vista and Windows 7, please see the tutorial below. Apple utilizes a similar program called Software Update that can also be configured to automatically check for new updates, download them, and then notify you when they are ready to be installed. As you can see with both major consumer operating systems willing and able to tell you when updates are available, there is no excuse for not installing them.Therefore, get out there and make sure your computer have all the updates installed. This will not only protect your computer, but also other computer on your network and the Internet.

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#2 keyboardNinja


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Posted 05 October 2010 - 06:44 PM

Great advice everyone should follow! :thumbsup:
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#3 Layback Bear

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Posted 13 October 2010 - 12:10 AM

Great post Grinler. Its so easy to do and yet there are so many that don't. Would it help if this post was put in New User Orientation or our Welcome Guide. Just my thoughts.

#4 glendrummer01


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Posted 19 November 2010 - 12:21 PM

I agree that updating is crucial....no doubt about it. My only concern is the number of times my (especially Vista) users receiving automatic updates wind up with problems due to an incompatible or faulty update being installed. Good for business? Yes, but it's no fun to have a frustrated customer taking it out on you and looking at you with suspicion because you told them to automatically update. I would much rather have a happy customer eager to try out the latest technology because they have had positive experiences rather than having to overcome their (well founded) objections. I hope the apparent progress I am seeing in this area from Microsoft is a real trend in the company. A deep discount on 7 for Vista victims would be nice! And, Microsoft Security Essentials.....not bad! A pleasant surprise.

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