New malware is generated round-the-clock, threatening your computer or device, its operating system, and the software/apps installed on it. Your anti-virus software as well your browser(s) are also at risk if not kept current and properly patched.
Having the latest software version means your computer or device will be not only be more secure but will also perform better and be more reliable. To stay protected and chugging along smoothly, follow these three steps:
1. Keep Your Operating System and Its Programs Current
If your computer alerts you to the availability of new critical system updates, don't ignore them. Instead, install them as soon as possible.
Windows computers can get critical system updates from the Microsoft Update website (note that you must use Internet Explorer to obtain updates in this way). Visit Microsoft's Windows Update page for an overview of this feature. For more details on specific OS, visit these pages: Windows 7, Vista or XP. Windows users may also want to check out how to turn automatic updating on or off.
Apple computers can get critical system updates from the Apple Support Downloads website. For a chronology of updates since 2003 and earlier, visit the Apple Security Updates site. Tip: Set the frequency on checking for Apple updates at: Apple main menu > System Preferences > Software Update.
2. Use the latest version of your software (includes browser and anti-virus products)
Besides your OS and its associated software, be sure to keep other programs and apps up to date.
Running the most current version of your browser is key to protecting your computer against Internet threats like spyware and other nefarious hacker exploits. When asked to accept an update, be sure to do so. Note that some browsers will always check for the latest version. Here is a list of the top four browsers and how they handle updates:
- Firefox: Configure it to auto-check for updates at Tools > Options > Advanced > Update > Automatically check for updates to (Window only)
- Internet Explorer: Configure it to auto-check for updates at Tools > Internet Options > Advanced > Browsing > Automatically check for IE updates
- Google Chrome: Automatically checks for updates by default (See Google Chrome and Browser Security)
- Safari: Takes advantage of Apple Software Update and checks for the latest versions of Safari when you're on the Internet. it is recommended that Windows users install Software Update for Windows to keep Safari and other Apple software up-to-date.
Install the latest version of Symantec AntiVirus and other security software from the Software Distribution website (Windows, Mac). Using Brown's version ensures that the latest virus definitions are pushed to your computer each time you log into the Brown network (? or each time you access the Internet?).
3. Don't forget your mobile device
Update your mobile device frequently, selecting the automatic update option if available for your particular phone. Keep any installed software, including operating systems and applications, up-to-date as well. Utilize anti-virus programs and configure automatic updates if possible.
- Android: How to Check for Android Updates
- BlackBerry: Check for BlackBerry Desktop Manager Updates
(Note: Example listed is for version 5.0. Search BlackBerry's Technical Solution Center pages for your appropriate documentation.)
- iPhone/iPod Touch: Use iTunes to update your iPhone with the latest software (Let iTunes Check for Updates). Connect your iPhone to your computer, then select iPhone in the Source List. Go to Summary panel > Check for Updates > Update.
- Windows Mobile: Download Windows Mobile Updates or configure your phone to automatically update in System Settings > Windows Update.