Updates Beat Security Programs

google-logoAccording to security experts polled in a recent Google Study, the two best ways to stay safe online are to keep your operating system and applications patched by running updates when prompted, and by using a password management tool, such as LastPass.  32% of security professionals said that running updates was the most important and effective security practice.

Unfortunately, in the same poll, when average users were asked the best ways to stay safe online, they answered at running anti-malware software, deleting cookies, a periodically changing passwords.  While these activities are good to engage in, they are not the most effective.  Anti-virus and anti-malware Internet security programs are not perfect.  And in my own practice I meet so many individuals who have cookies turned off on their browsers and don’t understand that some websites won’t work without them.

So basically, you want to be sure that Windows Updates are set to install automatically.  You can check this in the Control Panel.  Other software updates that you want to run are updates for Adobe Reader and Adobe Flash.  These, too can be set to run automatically, just open the respective programs and go to Help, Check for updates.  Java is another program that needs to be updated when prompted.

Unfortunately, the Adobe and Java updates will sponsor hitchhiker programs, such as Google Chrome, Google Toolbar, McAfee Security Plus, or Yahoo Toolbar.  Uncheck the box to stay free of these unnecessary programs.  Also be sure you are downloading updates from the manufacturer’s website, not from some downloader site.

Stay safe.

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About the Author:

Cybersecurity analyst, pen-tester, trainer, and speaker. Serving small business owners in the St Paul, Minneapolis, and western Wisconsin area since 2001. Cybersecurity and hacking have been a passion of mine since I entered the computer and networking business in 2000. I hold several cybersecurity certifications including Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP), Certified Advanced Security Pratitioner (CASP), and Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH). Other computer industry certifications include A+, Network+ and Microsoft Certified System Engineer (MCSE). As Cybersecurity Analyst at The WyzCo Group, I help our clients experience high levels of security on their computers, networks, and websites. In addition to consulting on security products and services, we also conduct security audits, vulnerability assessments and full penetration tests. We also work with companies and organizations that need to certify compliance with regulations such as PCI-DSS (credit card processing), HIPAA/HITECH (medical records), and GLBA. We also provide Cybersecurity Awareness Training for clients and their employees. I am a frequent speakers at cybersecurity conferences such as the Minnesota Bloggers Conference, Secure360 Security Conference, the (ISC)2 World Congress, and the ISSA International Conference, and many local community organizations, Chambers of Commerce, SCORE, and several school districts. I have been blogging on cybersecurity since 2008.

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