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Updating security software

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When that happens, software developers find ways to fix the problems, and release those fixes as software updates. Sometimes, software needs to be updated because of the way it interacts with other kinds of software. Drivers are software programmes that tell computer features such as graphics and sound how to function. When drivers are updated, computer software that interacts with the drivers sometimes needs to be updated too.

These kinds of updates are crucial too, because without them, certain aspects of the computer system may not function correctly. For many businesses, the most important reason to update software is to ensure that security vulnerabilities are addressed as soon as possible.

The most active cybercriminals spend countless hours looking for vulnerabilities in the most popular, widely used software products. Those vulnerabilities are what allow them to attack and infect computer systems, and steal or encrypt sensitive data. By updating your computer systems, you ensure that your business has the best protection possible against cybercrime.

Without those all-important updates, your business is vulnerable — and so are your clients and customers. One example that illustrates this perfectly is that of credit-report company Equifax. In , the company was attacked by hackers that stole personal information relating to around million American citizens.

The breach occurred in May — and the hackers gained entry to the system via a vulnerability could have been fixed two months earlier, had the company been on top of software updates. In fact, an extensive survey of the company found that its security practices and policies were outdated and infective, and that the company routinely failed to perform basic security measures, including updating software vulnerabilities.

In the UK, and in countries around the world, the WannaCry ransomware attacks caused even more havoc. So, even though software updates may be annoying and time-consuming, they are absolutely essential. They ensure your business has the best, most up-to-date versions of the software it uses, protect against harmful cyberattacks that could cost your business more than it can afford.

Free Consultation. Book a FREE consultation. The Importance of Updating Software. Neglecting these updates is akin to someone leaving their front door open and windows unlocked, but many businesses simply cannot afford to take their activities offline for even a minute. Basic operating system updates can and should be applied as and when they are available. But for more bespoke in-house systems, which are connected to a suite of tools, a more considered approach is necessary.

Fortunately, businesses can readily manage and update their systems and third-party software infrastructure through automated patch management solutions. Panda Patch Management , a module of Panda Adaptive Defense, manages vulnerabilities — outdated systems and third-party software — and their corresponding updates and patches.

Full visibility of endpoint health, i. The solution also correlates detected and identified threats with uncovered vulnerabilities to minimise response time and contain and remediate attacks through automated patch application.

This kind of patch management allows businesses to get ahead of software vulnerability exploit attacks, enhance endpoint security and reduce attack vectors. Businesses cannot afford to overlook or avoid patching and updating software infrastructure.

Cybercriminals are banking on businesses not updating or patching their systems or software so that they can exploit vulnerabilities and deal damage. If an update is available, it should be applied at the earliest and most practical opportunity. If you want to find out more about Panda Patch Management and how it can ensure that your business remains protected, click here.

Panda Security specializes in the development of endpoint security products and is part of the WatchGuard portfolio of IT security solutions. Initially focused on the development of antivirus software, the company has since expanded its line of business to advanced cyber-security services with technology for preventing cyber-crime.

Your email address will not be published. Business Tips The importance of updating your systems and software January 24, 4 minute read. Unpatched software leaves businesses open to attack There seems to be a system or piece of software for everything nowadays — from apps that let you explore internet browsers in virtual reality to software that can help improve your speech, technology is helping push the boundaries of what can be achieved both inside and outside of the workplace.

Cybercriminals target software and system vulnerabilities The majority of impactful cyberattacks often have one thing in common: they target known vulnerabilities in systems and third-party software. Businesses face a multi-faceted challenge in the form of patch management Indeed, the management of system software updates and patches has become a serious challenge for modern organisations.

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Windows All Windows Updates in Windows 10 are automatic. They cannot be turned off. You can also check for new updates manually before they go active on the schedule by using this method:. Windows 8. Windows 7: You can turn on automatic updates in Windows 7 by doing the following:. You can search for security updates for your specific system by clicking on the right-hand search box and typing in the appropriate operating system. Windows 10 and 8.

Microsoft offered a free upgrade from Windows 7 or 8 to Windows 10 up to July 29, Those looking to upgrade now will not get the free upgrade option. You can purchase and download the either the full version of Microsoft Windows 10 or by purchasing a device that has Windows 10 already installed. If you have Windows 8, an easy method to upgrade to Windows 10 is by going to the Windows Store and typing in Windows 10 to get an upgrade option.

Windows 7 may be able to install this upgrade through the Microsoft update notifications. Note: ZDNet suggests that you may still be able to receive a free Windows 10 upgrade. Click here to read more. As with Windows, Mac users can adjust some of their security and software update settings. Apple makes this process a bit simpler than Windows, however.

You can set your Mac to automatically install updates to your operating system and any applications you downloaded through the App Store, or simply go app by app and download those updates yourself. You can only update any apps on your system using the Apple ID that was used to purchase the app. When updating Mac OS X specifically, you can click the More link for the update and see if there are updates for specific Mac applications and components, such as Safari or iTunes.

However, Apple installs required security updates automatically. If you want to turn off automatic security updates, do the following:. Please note, disabling automatic security updates is not recommended. Android users can turn app updates on or off through the Google Play Store settings. However, you cannot set the operating system to automatically install software updates.

Android will push out notifications when an update is ready for the operating system. You can also check for updates manually. If your device is not receiving updates, it may be because the device maker has chosen not deliver updates to your device. Although Google makes system updates available, some device makers, such as Samsung and LG, only provide the updates to newer devices. Note: Android operating systems will vary in how the UI and settings menus are set up. Your menu layout for this process may look different, depending on which mobile device you are using and which version of Android you have.

However, this process should help guide you to the right location for most Android versions for most mobile devices. Additionally, note that if you installed any Android apps from outside of Google Play, such as through a sideload or due to activating the Unknown Sources developer option, your apps will not automatically update.

You will need to update those apps manually by downloading the latest version to overwrite the current version on your device. Look at the date under Android Security Patch Level. If the date looks like it may be a bit old, check with your device maker to see if a patch is available. Google releases security bulletins monthly, and your device may or may not be among those receiving security updates.

Unfortunately, upgrading to a newer version is at times not possible. Whether you can or cannot upgrade to a new version depends on whether your phone provider decides to roll out a new version for your phone model. Apple makes it simple to update your iOS apps and software easily, either using a wireless connection or through a wired connection on a computer. To manually update any app, you can go to its page directly in the App Store to check for updates.

You can also check out the Apple Security Updates page to see if any of your devices have received recent updates. If you do not see one, there is no update currently available. Click here to check on the current version of iOS. To install security and software updates on Ubuntu, we recommend checking out this detailed guide. You can check for individual updates for Debian here. You can check for individual updates for Ubuntu here. You can easily install a newer version of Linux directly on the distribution pages, or through the operating system.

Ubuntu users can update to the latest version using the Software Updater application. Click here for a how-to guide upgrading to the latest version of Ubuntu. Considering Debian is a bit less user-friendly for newcomers, upgrading is a bit more difficult.

Click here to access a how-to from Debian on keeping the OS updated. Related post: Best Linux Patch Managers. Not all security update warnings you receive are going to be real. At times, you may see such messages and click on them, only to find nothing happens or that it opens a suspicious web page or tries to download a file blocked by your antivirus software or filters. Here are a few tips to avoid fake security updates:. For example, Microsoft offers an Insider Program for pro users and testers that allow users to install unreleased versions of the software.

By their nature, such releases, whether they are alphas, betas, nightlies, or previews, are going to have more flaws and more vulnerabilities to them. No reputable software company or developer will automatically update your software to an unstable or pre-release version. These versions are only installed manually. If you do decide to install a pre-release version of a program, you assume the risks inherent in using a program version that has not been widely used or tested en masse.

Beta testing software can be fun but does come with some risks. If possible, use a separate machine for beta testing new software, and utilize the older, stable version on your general use machine. Many popular applications do not receive automatic updates, leaving those programs highly vulnerable. In most cases, individual software programs that utilize an internet connection will provide push notifications when an update is available, but may not force the upgrade. It is often up to the user to check for and install these updates.

The following popular programs are known to have a large user base and are frequently targets for hackers due to their common use in most operating systems. Adobe is an undisputed leader in dependency software applications.

Programs such as Flash Player and Shockwave, for example, are a common target for hackers due to their significant integration for various forms of computer and web browser media. Related: What makes Flash so insecure and what are the alternatives? Google Chrome ranks 13 on the CVE vulnerabilities list. The web browser is regularly updated. To install updates in Chrome, you can click on menu button three horizontal dots on the right side of the window to check for updates.

If there are new updates, the menu button dots will either be:. To install any updates, click on Update Google Chrome. If you do not see this option after clicking on the menu dots button, you are currently on the latest version. Firefox ranks at 21 on the CVE vulnerabilities list. However, you can adjust these settings by doing the following:.

OpenSUSE users should ensure they are installing updates as they come, as this application is often a target with many vulnerabilities. This application is a common factor for security threats but is not treated the same when it comes to security updates. Cyber security defense methods are advancing, but so too are the tools and methods cyber criminals are using to hack systems and steal or destroy data.

With ransomware increasingly the most popular modus operandi for cyber criminal groups, both large businesses and individual users are increasingly likely to find themselves on the receiving end of a nasty piece of malware. The potential for losing valuable data is increasingly more than just a serious concern.

Related: What is disaster recovery and how do you plan for it? Both small businesses and average computer users, especially, need to consider the necessity of these options as well. You'll need to restart your device to complete the process. Need more help? Expand your skills. Get new features first. Was this information helpful? Yes No. Any other feedback? The more you tell us, the more we can help.

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The bottom line is that when it comes to IT security a lot is at risk if it is not taken seriously. If you have personal information about yourself, your financial information and that of your relatives and friends on the software you currently use then downloading updates is a must.

Software updates often have not only security fixes but the latest features for the software as well. Passing on updates for your software could very well mean you are not in the loop when it comes to important features that could save you a lot of time. This is because updates often come with the removal of software bugs and the addition of features that may be slowing down the software.

All these updates are sure to make your life a lot easier. Sometimes, failure to update software may mean that the software stops functioning and you lose important information. One way to avoid those annoying popups that you sometimes ignore is to choose to automatically update your software whenever this option is available. Some software makes it possible to choose the time of day you update or even how often. Scheduling and automating your updates this way will make them less of a nuisance.

Automatic updates to software are something you can do for smartphone security as well, it is not just limited to computer systems. Hopefully, you will take some time to update your software whenever you are prompted to do so. Utilizing the automatic updating options on your protection software will help ensure that you are receiving adequate protection on your computer.

If you receive an announcement that your software programming requires a security patch, install it. Do You Need a Security Patch? Security patches help your computer work at optimal level. Your computer functions through programming codes that tell it what to do. Sometimes these codes are faulty or require updating to ensure optimal function of your operating system. Errors or bugs in your system's programming code or in the code of software can cause weaknesses in that software, program, or system.

A bug may also be known as a security flaw, a security hole, or vulnerability. While a bug is not exactly considered a virus, it can have detrimental effects on your computer's operating system function and can sometimes make it do what you do not want it to do. On occasion, these gaps in computer coding become a prime source or target for computer hackers or viruses. These vulnerabilities in your computer's operating system are primed for attack by viruses, Internet worms, Trojan horses, and other bad stuff because they are easy to cross over, much like a castle surrounded by a moat that allows its drawbridge down in the middle of an enemy invasion.

Any time Microsoft or other operating system providers determine there are vulnerabilities in any of their software programs, changes are required to close the gaps in those vulnerabilities. This is exactly what a security or patch is designed to do.

It is like a Band-Aid that fixes a boo boo in your computer's operating system. Where do you get security patches? From your browsing system designers. For example, users of Windows operating systems can go to Microsoft's home page and look for security updates or patches for their operating systems, such as Windows XP or Vista. Your Windows operating system may do this automatically by checking for security patches from its home base, downloading and installing them on its own.

More often than not, you have seen pop-up boxes that notify you that your computer is undergoing a scan or has found a patch that needs to be installed. Automatic installation may be done for you, or you may be asked to give your computer permission to do so. You may also receive information regarding security patches to your e-mail.

Again, be cautious and verify that the security patch has actually come from your operating system's company. For example, click off your e-mail, visit the Microsoft, antivirus or other program's Web site, and access the security patch from there, and not from your e-mail. Before installing a security patch, make sure that you have backed up all your important documents and files. Then reboot your computer by restarting it. Access the Web site where you found the most recent security patch and read through the installation instructions for that patch.

You might even want to print off the instructions and then once again restart your computer. Install only one security patch at a time, rebooting or restarting your computer after each installation. After you install a security patch, log onto your computer and browse around for a while to make sure it is operating efficiently before you install another patch. You will need Windows Internet Explorer, at least Version 5 or newer, to view this. If you are using Mozilla, Netscape, or other browsers, you need to use Internet Explorer to access the Microsoft Windows update patches.

Click onto the "scan for updates" link. Give your computer a few minutes to check out its operating system and decide whether any security patches or updates are necessary. You'will be able to review any patches suggested, as well as any critical updates and service packs that may be suggested. Select or click on the patches, updates, or service packs that you want to install. Click on the "install now" button.

The end-user license agreement will appear. Click "accept. Your computer will automatically begin the patch installation process. Open your Control Panel by clicking on the Start button on the bottom lefthand side of your toolbar, then click Settings, then click Control Panel. Find the icon that says Automatic Updates. Within the Automatic Updates section, you will be able to see whether your configuration is set to automatic installation by looking at the check box next to something that may say, "Keep my computer up to date," or something similar.

Make sure this box is checked in order to run or install automatic updates. You willl be given several options, such as whether you want to be notified before any updates are downloaded, as well as whether you want to be notified after they are installed. You may also be asked if you want updates to be downloaded automatically and notify you when they are ready to be installed. On the other hand, you can choose an option that automatically downloads updates, and installs them at specific points in time.

Windows operating systems make installation of security updates and patches easy. All you have to do is respond to notifications and decide whether you want the security update or patch installed. Remember to log off and restart your computer after each installation. Most updates, security patches, critical patches, and fixes do not become active until after you have restarted or rebooted your computer. This gives your computer the opportunity to find the updates within your operating system and activate them.

Take time to browse the Microsoft Web site for security patches and updates. Get familiar with the terminology and how the downloads work. Peripheral Updates. Many computer users today need Adobe Acrobat Reader in work, school, and home environments in order to open and view portable document format PDF files.

PDF is a common format used to share documents and information resources. If you have installed Adobe Acrobat Reader to your computer, you may be notified on occasion of updates or security patches for this program. Follow the instructions offered to install updates to make sure your computer stays up to date with changes made in Adobe Acrobat Reader software.

You also can follow basic instructions for other peripheral-use software you may need frequently, including:. Macromedia Shockwave and Flash. Security patches, updates, and critical updates are common terms that should be understood by all computer users. Computer operating systems these days make it easy for users of all capabilities to ensure optimal function of their computer system through pop-up boxes or announcements that will tell them exactly how Windows security updates or patches need to be installed.

If you are still not comfortable with taking steps to install updates on your own, ask a friend or family member who is more comfortable doing this to show you how to perform rather this simple but valuable step in keeping your computer operating properly and protecting it from vulnerabilities. You have pretty much figured out that you need antivirus software installed on your program, but where do you get it? When you are looking for, obtaining, or installing any type of antivirus to software, it is important to know the most common brands, along with their features and compatibility with your e-mail program.

You also should be familiar with the benefits or drawbacks of purchasing your antivirus software online or at a computer store. Online or Offline Downloads. Do not rush into buying antivirus software until you have had a chance to compare a number of brands and determine which one would work best for you. Your antivirus software is important for the safety and security of your computer. Your selection of antivirus software and protection should be based on your computer usage.

An antivirus program that you buy for home use may be totally different from something you would use at work. Also determine whether you want to purchase your antivirus software from an online download or from a brick-and-mortar store. There are pros and cons to each. Let us start with online shopping venues. Online shopping is certainly convenient and may offer a large number of popular antivirus software for you to compare. On the downside of this, having too many options to choose from can be intimidating.

However, when purchasing antivirus software online, make sure you only purchase the antivirus software from the official Web site of its maker.