One of the easiest ways to keep your information secure is to keep your software and applications updated.
Always keep your software updated when updates become available and do not delay in getting them installed. Patches are software and operating system (OS) updates that address security vulnerabilities within a program or product. Software vendors may choose to release updates to fix performance bugs, as well as to provide enhanced security features. When software updates become available, vendors usually put them on their websites for users to download. Install updates as soon as possible to protect your computer, phone, or other digital device against attackers who would take advantage of system vulnerabilities.
Attackers may target vulnerabilities for months or even years after updates are available. Some software will automatically check for updates, and many vendors offer users the option to receive updates automatically. If automatic options are available take advantage of them. If they are not available, periodically check your vendor’s websites for updates. Make sure that you only download software updates from trusted vendor websites. Do not trust a link in an email message—attackers have used email messages to direct users to websites hosting malicious files disguised as legitimate updates. Users should also be suspicious of email messages that claim to have a software update file attached—these attachments may contain malware. Only apply automatic updates from trusted network locations (e.g., home, work). Avoid updating software (automatically or manually) while connected to untrusted networks (e.g., airport, hotel, coffee shop). If updates must be installed over an untrusted network, use a Virtual Private Network connection to a trusted network and apply updates.
Get it From the Source
When downloading a software update, only get it from the company that created it. Never use a hacked, pirated or unlicensed version of software, no matter where it came from. These often contain malware and cause more problems than they solve.
Make It Automatic
Software from legitimate companies usually provides an option to update your software automatically. When there’s an update available, it gives a reminder so you can easily start the process. If you can’t automatically update it, remind yourself to check quarterly if an update is available.
Watch Out for Fakes!
Maybe you’ve seen pop-up windows when visiting a website or opening software that urgently asks you to download something or fill out a form. These are always fake and should not be followed. A browser will warn you not to move forward or stay on a specific web address because it might not be secured or could contain malware.
Follow along each week of October as we give tips to help keep your online life safe and secure. Share your appreciation for NCSAM with #BeCyberSmart and #CyberAware.