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Keeping up with the Joneses - Lookin' good with Updates!
How I worked through my fear and clicked on updates. Microsoft, Adobe, Java and all those other little popups.
By: David Ward of Wellmax Computer
OK..maybe not quite this bad......or maybe worse. I have heard it all. But the one thing that always gets me is that people are "afraid" or running updates because they are afraid it will hurt, alter, corrupt or destroy their computer. What they fail to get is that NOT running updates will cause these things to happen. In 24 years of being an IT consultant I can count on one...maybe two hands the number of problems I have seen as a result of an update.
Some updates are created to help a program to run better or have some additional functionality such as the ability to save in additional formats or some editing functions. Some updates are to make a program compatible with a new operating system. But the majority of updates that I see are to "plug" security vulnerabilities in programs or operating systems.
What do I mean by this? The bad guys (known as the Black Hats) examine operating systems and programs and find ways to insert code into the OS or program so that the code can become executed on your system with our without your help (unbeknownst to you) and without your knowledge that it happened. This code can do anything from poke around your computer looking for files to steal or corrupt or erase (there isn't much $$ in erasing or corrupting) or they can look for your email or address list to send itself to your list, or even record your keystrokes as you log on to your bank website. The code can then "phone home" with this information. There are underground networks of Blackhats who share the vulnerabilities that they find and you can even purchase a "kit" that has the vulnerabilities listed and the code that was written to exploit them. The kits are fairly cheap.
Microsoft, Adobe, Oracle (makes Java) and others find out about these, hopefully before they are widespread and out "in the wild". Their programmers "The Whitehats" write code that fixes these vulnerabilities. They publish these and usually will communicate with your computer to alert it that there are updates or patches that need to be applied.
A word of caution. These companies will almost NEVER send an email with a link for an update unless you email them first asking for it. If you get an unsolicited email with a link for an update...NEVER...NEVER...NEVER click on it. Instead go to the website and search for the update yourself.
Do not underestimate the importance of these patches. There is a MAJOR US security company (Are you listening RSA Security?) that did not have the Adobe Flash update patch, which allowed malicious code to be executed when the user opened an Excel file with an embedded Flash file in it that was in her email.
So...whats the moral here? Face your fears, run the updates, feel the peace of mind when your computer stops telling you that you are at risk. Almost ALL updates can be undone if worse comes to worse. Go on....you can do it!
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Wellmax Computer, serving small and mid range businesses with their computer, security, backup and networking needs.
Page Updated Last on: Sep 26, 2011