Software Updates

This page refers to software on your computers that is not the operating system.

Your software might include the following:

Microsoft products (either bundled with the Windows operating system or purchased separately)

  • Office (including Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook)
  • Media Player
  • Publisher
  • Project
  • Dynamics CRM
  • Visio

Microsoft is the most common application software of this type, but this advice applies equallyther software manufacturers

Commonly pre-loaded (when you buy the computers)

  • Adobe Reader
  • Adobe Flash
  • Oracle Java
  • Roxio Creator

Other, task-specific applications, for example:

  • Printer drivers
  • Accounts
  • Internet security
  • Acrobat Distiller

Software related to your business sector, for example:

  • Drawing / design / image manipulation
  • Manufacturing
  • Music composition
  • Financial / forecasting

As is the case with operating systems, cybercriminals quickly find vulnerable areas in other software and continue to do so for the lifetime of the version. This is more commonplace in mainstream packages used generically across many types of organisation, than specialist, industry-specific programs.

To counter this, software manufacturers release regular updates such as security updates or critical updates, which protect against malware nd security exploits. Other types of updates correct errors that enhance the software’s functionality, and are not necessarily security related.

The risks

Not keeping your software up to date can result in serious issues, affecting both your computer and your own personal security. These include:

  • Viruses, spyware and other malware.
  • Cyber intrusion leading to crimes such as fraud, identity theft and espionage.
  • Crashing, freezing and generally poor performance.

As well as resolving security issues, software updates frequently contain improvements and new features.

Protecting your devices

You will generally receive a notification from the software manufacturer in the form of an alert on your screen, that updates are available. You will normally be given the choice of whether to download and install the update immediately or later. Our recommendation is to download and install as soon as possible.

Some software updates require you to restart your computers in order to complete the installation process. Again, you will normally be given the option of doing this immediately or later. Again, we recommend that you do this as soon as possible.

Please note that downloading the latest software updates does not negate the need to be running the latest versions of internet security and firewall software.



See Also...

Jargon Buster

A Glossary of terms used in this article:

Identity theft

The crime of impersonating someone – by using their private information – for financial gain.