Regularly download updates and patches for operating systems and other software. Unpatched and out of date operating systems and applications are the primary target for the malware infection and dissemination. The malicious exploits are developed very rapidly. Updating just operating system is no longer sufficient. Malware authors are constantly looking for a new attack surface in commonly used programs such as Adobe PDF Reader, QuickTime, Adobe Flash and Microsoft Office. According to the SANS paper “The Top Cyber Security Risks”, application vulnerabilities exceed OS vulnerabilities.

Marshall University has licensed a system to automate and expedite the process of software updates for university-owned computers. This system is called the KACE K1000 Management Appliance (or KBOX for short) by Dell/KACE®. The KBOX Client software client will periodically remind the computer user when critical software updates are needed.

As for your personal computer, you should frequently check for available updates. Most major software companies regularly release updates and patches to fix new vulnerabilities in their software. One should beware of the bogus update sites or e-mails that appear to be from a legitimate company but provide links to the fake sites. Here we provide you with the correct links to operating system and internet-based applications that should be an absolute priority for updating and patching:
Operating Systems
Adobe Flash
Adobe Acrobat Reader and Adobe Acrobat Pro
Sun Java
Apple QuickTime

Manual check for updates for each of the applications can be quite a task. Luckily this task can be simplified. To see if your computer is at risk, you can run free Secunia Online Software Inspector (OSI) or download Personal Software Inspector (PSI) for Home Users that will not only scan for vulnerabilities in approximately 100 well-known apps , but will also give you direct links to update older and vulnerable programs. Click here to learn more about Secunia scanners.

Microsoft and Apple provide free security updates for their software products.

Windows: Microsoft issues patches for all Microsoft products on the second Tuesday of each month as well as out-of-cycle patches on any day of the month.This is a good occasion to check manually, a practice that you should follow once every two weeks, to make sure all of the updates have been installed. Check for Windows Updates here
Apple OS X: Updates are issued frequently, and their contents may differ depending on which processor is in your Mac (PPC or Intel). Check for Apple OS X updates here .

Back to top

Adobe Flash – visit this link to check your version:

Back to top

Step 1 – Launch Acrobat Reader or Acrobat Pro
Step 2 – Go to the ‘Help’ menu and select ‘Check for Updates’
Step 3 – Follow the recommendations provided by the ‘Adobe Updater Utility’.

Back to top

Visit this link to check your Java version:

Back to top

Visit this link to check your QuickTime version: will auto prompt the user to update to latest version. If this does not occur:
Open the QuickTime application
Click the ‘Help’ tab from ToolBar
Select ‘Update Existing Software.’
Back to top

RealPlayer (if already installed) – note RealPlayer is not as common today as in years past. Do not update/install if RealPlayer is not already installed. If you like using RealPlayer follow these steps to update it.
Detemine your current version: Open the RealPlayer application
If the application is outdated, a dialog box will appear at start up with two options: ‘Get It Now’ or ‘Remind Me Later.’ At the bottom of the dialog box is an unchecked box with ‘Don’t remind me to upgrade’ beside it. We strongly recommneded you to NOT select this box. It is recommended you select ‘Get It Now,’ but if you choose to select ‘Remind Me Later,’ the dialog box will reappear the next time you open the application to remind you an upgrade is available.
If you turned off the reminder for upgrades
Click on the ‘Help’ tab from ToolBar
Select ‘Check for Upgrade.’

Back to top

Older, outdated and unpatched versions of internet browsers contain multiple vulnerabilities that can lead to memory corruption, spoofing and execution of malicious scripts or code. It is absolutely critical to update your internet browser. Get latest versions of following web browser software:
Microsoft Internet Explorer

Mozilla FireFox

Apple Safari

Google Chrome


Back to top