According 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.
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