Microsoft Updates time is here again, and this is an exceptionally large and very important batch of patches and updates. Exactly how many will apply to you depends on your Windows/Office versions, but in total Microsoft has classified 3 updates as “critical” and seven as “important”, designed to fix a total of 34 vulnerabilities.
On the second Tuesday of each month Microsoft releases software patches & updates for their various products, so this is a very important day for all Windows users who care about their privacy and security [full summary here].
Often a Microsoft patch or update will close a vulnerability that, if left unaddressed, could allow an attacker to take complete control of your computer.
And that’s something you REALLY don’t want!
Keeping your installation patched up-to-date is so important that, whether or not you have Automatic Updates enabled, at this time of each month it’s still wise to manually double-check that everything that matters has been installed. Don’t be put off by the word “manually” — it’s a quick and easy process.
- Point your web browser to: http://www.update.microsoft.com
- Click the Custom button.
- Install any high-priority updates that are reported.
But Don’t Stop There!
In the column on the left-hand side you will see links for:
- Software, Optional (n)
- Hardware, Optional (n)
The number in brackets indicates how many updates of that type are applicable to your computer. If the number is anything other than (0) then click that link and investigate, installing the update if necessary (or if in doubt). Similarly, you may find relevant updates in one of the links under “Select by Product”, so do the same with any of those.
Each month, in association with Patch Tuesday, Microsoft presents an online Webcast to address customer questions on the bulletins for that month. Webcasts are usually initially presented on the Wednesday, the day after Patch Tuesday, at 11:00 AM Pacific Time (US & Canada). They are also recorded and available for later viewing. To register for a Webcast or to view Webcasts that have passed, click this link.
By the way, if you’re not in the US/Canadian Pacific Time Zone, SymmTime is a great on-screen world time utility for converting times around the world. It’s free and highly configurable.
Did you know…
Many of the malware threats that you are frequently warned about in the various news and information media, on and off-line, should never be the slightest threat to you.
How come? Well, because…
If you made a habit of applying the patches & updates that are issued by Microsoft every month, you would be IMMUNE from infection by many of the tens of thousands of threats currently circulating on the Internet, with more being churned out by the cyber-grubs on an almost daily basis.
The vast majority of these threats get into your computer by exploiting some known vulnerability in Windows. When one of these vulnerabilities is patched by Microsoft, the threat becomes benign — but only if you have applied the free patch to your version of Windows.
You Ignore Patches & Updates at Your Peril!
PS: When you read some of the related articles below you will encounter numerous instances of “Microsoft recommends updating Internet Explorer to version 8″ and “Microsoft recommends avoiding blah blah blah” and etc. Listen up! You’ll be orders of magnitude safer if you take my advice instead — download the free Firefox browser and give Internet Explorer the flick. IE has been a real security problem for a long time and it’s going to continue to be so well into the future. Firefox is a far better browser in every respect.
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- After buggy patch, criminals exploit Windows flaw
- Microsoft Finally Admits Numbers of Vulnerabilities It Reports Are Fake