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Thursday, February 09, 2006

Updating Your Software

You have various programs that help keep your computer safe from viruses and spyware. One thing that all of these programs have in common is that they must be updated from time to time. For example, when you buy a virus program, it protects you against all of the viruses that were known when the program was put in the package. It does not protect you against the new viruses that are created every day. Updating your software takes care of that.

What do I need to update?

Windows
Windows has plenty of “holes.” To make a long story short, every month Microsoft releases a patch which plugs all of the holes found since last month. When you access the Internet, going to “Tools” and then “Windows Update” allows Microsoft to look at your computer, see what patches you need, and prompt you to download them. Periodically, you will read in the news about some new vulnerability found in Windows that would allow someone to take over your computer. Virtually every time what you are reading about is a problem that can be fixed by updating Windows.

Virus Definitions
This is done for you at school. At home, go to your virus program and look for something with the word “update” in it (such as “Live Update”). The new virus definitions protect your computer again newly-discovered viruses.

Spybot
Spybot locates and removes spyware from your computer. To update Spybot:

  • Open the program
  • Click on “Update”
  • Click on “Search for Update”
  • Put a check in each of the boxes you see
  • Click on “Download Updates.”

SpywareBlaster
SpywareBlaster helps to keep you from getting spyware in the first place. To update it:

  • Open the program
  • Click on “Updates”
  • Click on “Check for Updates”
  • Click on the link that says “Enable protection for all unprotected items.”
  • Any button you see that says “Protect against checked items” is a good one to click.

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