Use Software Updates to Protect Your Computer

One of the most important things you can do to protect your computer online is to keep your operating system and programs up to date. This is important because the updates exist to patch holes and exploits in the current software. Most security updates and patches are free. There are times when updating software introduces new problems and bugs. But they are harder to exploit because they are new and many virus writers know that most people don't update their software unless they are forced to do so. To protect your computer from serious security risks you need to stay up to date with the current version and patches of software. These security flaws are exploited by viruses and other sorts of malware. A simple software update can protect your computer.

Protect Your Computer From Malware and Botnets

Malware is any malicious software which contains annoying or hostile code. This can include viruses, worms or trojan horses. Malware can even be software that you intentionally install thinking that it will help protect your computer, but where the author has added some type of code that harvests sensitive information or opens your computer to other attacks. Most viruses today are not written with the goal of destroying data like in the past. They are used to create botnets which are networks of computers under the virus writer's control to be used to send large numbers of spam or attack another computer network or website. You need to protect your computer from any type of malware lest you become part of a botnet.

Once a security flaw is known in an operating system, web browser or other software, the virus and malware writers start to work trying to exploit the flaw. If they can get their software on a significant number of computers before the flaw is patched, then they can accomplish their malicious goals.

Update Your Operating System

Whether running Windows, Linux, Mac or any other operating system, it is important to protect your computer by updating your operating system. This should be done as soon as an update becomes available. Even though the operating system manufacturers offer patches and updates to older versions of their software, they are more focused on keeping their newest software safe. To protect your computer while surfing the Internet, you will benefit from running the newest version possible of all of your software.

Update Any Software That Accesses the Internet

Any computer that is connected to the Internet in some way is at risk for having a flaw in software exploited. These exploits do not only attack web browsers and operating systems, they can attack through any software that interacts with the Internet directly or indirectly. Especially important when protecting your computer is to update web browsers and email programs.

Update Even If You Don't Like Change

Often people will not update to the newest version of software because they don't like the way the new program works or do not want to change from what they know. You must remember that software will constantly change. If you skip an update today and are forced to upgrade later, you will be even further behind on understanding the changes. Plus each version you are behind of the current version, the more vulnerable you are to malicious attacks.

Spend time making sure all updates and patches are applied to your software and you will be better able to protect your computer.