what software needs to be patched

I get this question a bit from across the age spectrum (for those of you that may, after further reading, conclude that this only comes from a more ‘senior’ generation) – I don’t know if I should install / upgrade ____ software, so I said cancel / no.  Let’s take a few moments to look at the bare minimum of software that you probably have on your computer and should upgrade.

Of course, the software I have listed here is not going to be complete.  However, it is most of the software that folks have asked me about or is software that I assist them with often.

Also – a quick disclaimer here: If you get a pop up screen asking you to update, to be certain this is not a crafty way of getting you to click on something that might not do what you think, I strongly suggest that you visit the software site and download the latest patch or version of the software instead of clicking on the pop up.  Why?  So you have no chance of getting tricked into clicking on something that may (or may not) take you to install software that is malicious in nature.

Firewall: Many folks use ZoneAlarm.  If they inform you of an update, please download it and install it.  What I mostly run across is folks download it, but do not install it (using newer web browsers, you need to do more than just download – actually double-click on the file you downloaded so you install what you downloaded).

Anti-Virus: No matter if you use AVG, Norton, McAfee or another product, make sure that it is set to update automatically.  And if the program lets you know there is an updated version, download and update the software.

Adobe Flash: Update this software as well – and since Adobe uses the pop up window, please make sure you see the disclaimer.  I recommend going to Adobe.com and downloading the software instead of clicking on the pop up window.

Java: This could show up as a small notification in your system tray.  Update this software as these patches / enhancements become available as well.

Web Browsers: As with anti-virus, it doesn’t matter if you favor Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome, Opera, Safari or another browser, if your machine meets the criteria for running the browser update it is recommended you upgrade your browser.

Operating System: Using Windows?  Set up your automatic updates to download new hotfixes / patches / updates and then choose a convenient time to apply them.  It is strongly recommended that you keep your computer’s OS up to date.

There are many other types of software you could have on your computer as well.  But, at a minimum, please keep your software up to date so you are protected from known hacks, as well as taking advantage of any enhancements the upgrade could add.

Thanks for reading, if you have insights or comments feel free to leave them!  Take care.