After years of reminders to run system scans and update your virus and malware definitions, you may finally be performing these tasks with some regularity. However, while you’re busy installing updates to your browser and your security settings, make sure you’re not forgetting to update Adobe Acrobat Reader, Flash, and other popular software products.
McAfee recently predicted that in 2010, Adobe would surpass Microsoft as hackers’ primary target. Click here to read the full article from McAfee. Once again, popularity has invited the attention of crooks: Acrobat Reader and Flash are very common programs, which makes them low-hanging fruit for hackers. PDF-based malware, in particular, is on the rise.
The problem is compounded by people’s tendency to ignore or forget the need to update the many different types of software they have installed on their machines. This may be due in part to the mistaken belief that as long as they have their antivirus definitions up to date, they’re protected from intrusion. Add to this the fact that, historically, some hastily issued security patches from makers like Microsoft have caused as many problems as they were supposed to fix. Finish it off with a healthy dose of end-user skepticism about the legitimacy of spontaneous prompts to update your software, and you can see why many people still run outdated — and vulnerable — versions of common programs. To this point, Microsoft is releasing a record number of patches on February 9th, tying October 2009 for the most security bulletins released in a single month. You can read the full announcement at PCWorld.com.
At CMIT, we carefully review all recommended software patches before rolling them out to our clients’ machines to make sure they function correctly. If you’re not on one of our managed services plans and are installing updates yourself, do some research before you take any action. Is there recent news on any of the tech sites about new vulnerabilities in the program you’re about to update? Does the update that you’re about to download come from a trusted source? Make sure you can answer “yes” to these questions before you proceed.
If you’re ever in doubt about whether to install a security patch or other update to Acrobat Reader, Flash, Internet Explorer, or anything else, go ahead and check with us. Chances are you won’t be the first person who has asked about it!
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