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Updates and Patches

With the Adobe announcement of vulnerabilities in several of their products, and yesterday (6/8/10) being Microsoft’s “Patch Tuesday”, it is probably a good idea to look at software updates.

Software developers release updates to their software for two main reasons. One is to introduce new features to their software, and the other is to fix bugs and security issues.

It’s an unfortunate reality that software contains bugs. No matter how much testing is done, there are usually issues that are missed. The more complicated a program is, the more likely it is to contain some kind of problems somewhere. Many are likely going to be minor issues, but there are times when certain security issues can be more critical and allow your PC to be compromised. This is particularly so when the program you are using connects to something online, such as your internet browser.

Software companies issue updates to fix these issues. Some of them release patches regularly, such as every month or so. Microsoft releases updates on every second Tuesday of the month (hence the name “Patch Tuesday”). This month’s Patch Tuesday equaled the highest number of patches they have ever released. Adobe has stated it will have a patch for one of their vulnerabilities on 6/10/2010 and one on 6/29/10. Apple just recently released Safari 5.0 which had 48 fixes from version 4.

Some programs will auto update themselves, some will tell you updates are available and ask you to update and some you manually have to check for updates. It is usually a good idea to keep your software updated to protect yourselves from malicious activity. Once an update has been released, if there isn’t already something out there that can take advantage of the vulnerability, there likely will be soon after.

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