Patch, Patch, PATCH!

Set up your computer for automatic software and operating system updates. An unpatched machine is more likely to have software vulnerabilities that can be exploited.

Why Patch?

If your computer seems to be working fine, you may wonder why you should apply a patch. By not applying a patch you might be leaving the door open for malware to come in. Malware exploits flaws in a system in order to do its work, while the time frame between an exploit and when a patch is released is continually getting shorter.

Defects in clients like web browsers, email programs, image viewers, instant messaging software, and media players may allow malicious websites, email messages, IM messages, images, and sound files to infect or compromise your computer with no action on your part other than viewing or listening to the website, message, or media.

What to Patch

Not all of the vulnerabilities that exist in products or technologies will affect you. However, any software you use is a potential source of vulnerabilities that could lead to a compromise of security or identity. The more commonly used a program is, the bigger target it represents and the more likely it is that a vulnerability will be exploited.

Not all software companies release patches for download, so for the more obscure software you use, you may want to contact the vendor to receive updates, patches or vulnerability alerts. Additionally, don't forget to patch your anti-virus software.