Criminals exploit security vulnerabilities in order to silently and automatically infect susceptible systems. Much of these exploits are delivered via legitimate websites that have been secretly compromised by attackers. To guard against drive-by malware downloads, Internet worms, and other vulnerability-exploiting malware, be sure to keep your computer fully patched. Microsoft provides an automatic update feature for Windows - but unfortunately malware often disables it. Make sure Windows automatic updates are configured properly by following the steps below.
Time Required: Less than 5 minutes
- Click the Start button in the Windows taskbar
- Select Control Panel
- Select Performance and Maintenance
- Select System
- Click the Automatic Updates tab
- Select your automatic update preference and the time interval desired
- Click Apply and then click OK to accept the changes and close the window.
- Windows is just one of many software that must be patched. All software can contain vulnerabilities ripe for exploit. For example, vulnerabilities in Adobe Reader and Acrobat are extremely common - PDF exploits are currently the most prevalent exploits delivered via the Web. To check your whole system for potentially vulnerable software, visit the free Secunia Software Inspector for an online vulnerability assessment.