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Stopping Malware Attacks – Updates and Exploits

 

Following our blog last week on Anti-Malware software and support, this week we continue to take a look at some steps you can take to help secure your PC or network from online threats.

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Did you know that as well as protecting your computer or network with software and hardware, you can protect it by updating frequently?

It may come as a surprise to hear that most malware out there right now works on the theory that people don’t update key software on their systems as much as they should, or turn off or ignore prompts to update.

Most of us have been guilty of this at some point. A box pops up telling you an update is available, but you’re working on something important, so you click “later”, “postpone” or “remind me at restart”. Next time might be the same. Eventually you end up with out of date software and several updates to apply at once.

It used to be that unpatched copies of Windows would be at the greatest risk, but with things like automatic updates and integrated security features, this is becoming one of the lesser favoured avenues of attack for malware.

Windows and Internet Explorer accounted for only 3% of total exploits in 2012, while Java was by far the most vulnerable, with a whopping 50%; Acrobat Reader came in at 28%; Adobe Flash came in at 2%. Java and Acrobat Reader have been up there on the list for a several years now. But this doesn’t mean that the software is bad – of course the vendor must always take some responsibility for the security of their products, but the fact is there are simply more attempts made to exploit holes in Oracle’s Java because so many computers around the world use it. Acrobat Reader and Flash are similar cases, although Adobe has focused on making the latest iterations of their popular software more secure.

Most often, as soon as a piece of malware is discovered, the security hole it exploits is patched by the software vendor if this is possible. If a security hole is discovered before any malware is released to exploit it, a patch is also released as soon as possible. The problem is that people do not download these updates when they should.

Essentially, if you want to keep your network or computer at its most secure, make sure you check regularly that all regularly used software is up to date, especially Java, which is used by most web browsers.

If you’d like to read in more depth about the most common exploits used, head on over to this article on the Kaspersky website.

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At Geek Guru we’re interested in helping our customers and their data to stay as secure as possible online and offline. We are here to provide advice and support to our customers whenever they need it, and we explain things without jargon.

If you’d like to get in touch, you can call us on 0845 234 0580 or email us at info@geek-guru.co.uk

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Posted on by Emily
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