Protect Yourself

Protect Yourself

Sometimes it feels like we need a Super Ninja to protect our computer systems from the bad guys.  How do we defend ourselves and defeat the bad guys?  I’ve learned over the years it’s not so much a Bruce Lee kind of defense we need.  What we really need is a “Karate Kid” – “Wax On, Wax Off” sort of approach.  It takes regular consistent effort to protect yourself online.

A frequent question is: “What do I update?”  “If I click on an update for a program – How do I know I won’t be infected?”

Make sure you only update from the site of the manufacturer.  Learn how updates work and understand the process for your needs.  Avoid the scams that try to dupe you into clicking.  Learn what the update icons look like, and be wary if it doesn’t look right.  If in doubt, go to the website for that provider and download directly from there.  Don’t search for the updates – the bad guys lurk in the search areas and try to scam you from there.  For example: go directly to Adobe.com or Java.com for the official software.  Here’s the short and quick list:

  1. Microsoft Windows.  All versions.  Do the critical and important updates.  Review the optional updates for items that will resolve problems with Windows.  As a general rule, I don’t install driver updates from Windows.  Get driver updates directly from the OEM for your hardware, and Only If you have a problem.
  2. Adobe Reader.  Keep it current and on the latest version.  Uninstall older versions.  Be careful not to accept some junk toolbar or other program during the update process.
  3. Adobe Flash Player.  Keep it current and on the latest version.  Be careful not to accept some junk toolbar or other program during the update process. Flash Player has a lot of issues.  Some machines and browsers are starting to block or prevent Flash from being used.  You might want to try and remove it completely.  Be aware that some websites require flash player to display videos properly.
  4. Java.  Keep it current and on the latest version.  Be careful not to accept some junk toolbar or other program during the update process.  Java is another one with lots of issues.  You might uninstall and try to do without it for better security.  Some sites won’t work properly without Java.  Sometimes you get an older version of Java that doesn’t update or get removed properly.  To be totally safe: Go to Control Panel and uninstall all versions.  Then go to Java.com and get the latest software.
  5. Anti-Virus software.  Whatever brand you use – always keep it current.
  6. Anti-Malware software.  Have an extra program for this – not just your antivirus product.  Always keep it current.

Recently, new vulnerabilities were found in QuickTime for Windows.  Apple has ended support for QuickTime as well.  I recommend that you immediately uninstall QuickTime via the Control Panel.  There are other programs that can be used to watch the videos.

Let’s stay safe out there.  I’m always available to answer questions, especially about updates and security – so don’t hesitate to give me a call.  It’s always easier to prevent a problem before it occurs than to clean up the mess afterwards.  Please forward thisnewsletter along to your friends – we want them to be safe too!

Remember: “Wax On, Wax Off!”

Have a Great Day,
Rusty Lee