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The Importance of Software Security Updates

Software History

Traditionally computer software was designed as a static form of technology. You buy the software, install it to your computer and use the software until the next version came out. In today’s digital world this model no longer fits as software technology is ever changing. In order to combat the constant evolving threats in the digital world, the latest software updates must be made available immediately (Norton, 2017). 

Security Software

Keeping up to date with security software is like a cat playing with a mouse or in most cases a constant leap frog effect. When virus writers, hackers, and other ill-intentioned individuals come up with new and inventive ways to attack their targets digitally, software security experts need to patch or update the software to prevent these malicious wrongdoers from causing or wreaking havoc on computers. The security experts will fill the hole in the software only to have to fill another hole in the future. 

As threats evolve, so do anti-threat technologies. Software Security companies are constantly working to anticipate and respond to new types of attacks. Once a new attack or threat becomes known, security experts work to identify the threat, prevent the spread, and remedy the effects. The latest software updates to technology and information need to make their way from the security software development lab to your desktop. This is where the internet and you come into play (Norton, 2017). 

How Do I Help Prevent Myself From Being A Target?

To help prevent yourself from being a target you should first know what a computer virus is. A computer virus is a small software program that is designed to spread from one computer to another and to interfere with computer operation. Computer viruses may corrupt or delete data on your computer, use your email program to spread itself to other computers, or even erase everything on your hard drive (Microsoft, 2017). There are a multitude of different ways viruses can be disguised in order to bait you into clicking or downloading them. 

Here are some best practices on protecting yourself from being victimized by viruses in general: 

  • Always back up your files. By maintaining offline copies of your personal information, ransomware scams will have a limited impact on you. If targeted, you will be less inclined to take heed to threats posed by cyber criminals. 
  • Enable popup blockers. To prevent popups, turn on popup blockers to avert unwanted ads, popups or browser malware from constantly appearing on your computer screen. 
  • Think Before You Click. Visiting unsafe, suspicious or fake websites can lead to the intrusion of malware. Be cautious when opening e-mails or attachments you don’t recognize even if the message comes from someone in your contact list.  
  • Set NEW strong passwords. A strong password is at least eight characters in length and includes a mix of upper and lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters. Example: Social Media Sites, Email, Online Banking with other financial institutions, etc.  
  • Watch out for phishing scams. Phishing scams use fraudulent emails and websites to trick users into disclosing private account or login information. Do not click on links or open any attachments or pop-up screens from sources you are not familiar with. Forward phishing emails to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) at [email protected] – and to the company, bank, or organization impersonated in the email. 
  • Keep personal information personal. Hackers can use social media profiles to figure out your passwords and answer those security questions in the password reset tools. Lock down your privacy settings and avoid posting things like birthdays, addresses, mother’s maiden name, etc. Be wary of requests to connect from people you do not know. 
  • Secure your internet connection. Always protect your home wireless network with a password. When connecting to public Wi-Fi networks, be cautious about what information you are sending over it. 
  • Shop safely. Before shopping online, make sure the website uses secure technology. When you are at the checkout screen, verify that the web address begins with https. Also, check to see if a tiny locked padlock symbol appears on the page. 
  • Read the site’s privacy policies. Though long and complex, privacy policies tell you how the site protects the personal information it collects. 

For more security information and alerts please visit our Security Center.

References: Microsoft (May, 2017) What is a computer virus?; Norton (2017) Why Security Updates Are Vital