In order to keep your computer’s operating system running safely and efficiently, it is important that you regularly install the latest software patches and updates. In this week’s Tech Tip, the Loyola University Information Security Office provides information and resources to help you keep your software up-to-date.
What is Patch Tuesday?
Patch Tuesday refers to the second Tuesday of each month when Microsoft releases fixes for known issues in its operating systems and other products. These fixes are called patches or updates and are available for free download from the Microsoft website for any legally licensed copy of Microsoft Software.
What do patches do?
After software gets released to the public and it is being used with a greater frequency, people may begin to notice small problems that were not found during testing. Also, old software may have compatibility issues with newer hardware and new software might not run properly on older hardware. After gathering this data, these patches are released to fix these problems.
Why should I care about patches?
Software patches and updates don’t just fix small problems; they can also fix serious security issues within specific software programs. Malicious users can exploit vulnerabilities in software to gain access to part or all of your system. By keeping your software up to date, you are making it harder for someone to gain unauthorized access to your system.
How can I keep my software up to date?
The best way to keep software up to date is to regularly check and install updates from the software company. Microsoft has an update feature built into its operating systems and software which, when turned on, will automatically check with Microsoft for updates. Here at Loyola, computers in the labs, classrooms, as well as faculty/staff desktop PCs, are monitored by network software. Updates are sent to them from a main server once the update has been tested and approved by our Desktop Services team. Students who bring their own computers to campus are required the keep their operating system and antivirus solution up to date. Otherwise, they will not be able to gain access to the Loyola network.
It is also important to keep your other applications up to date. They can have security vulnerabilities that can be exploited by malicious users to gain access to your system. Some applications may have options to turn on automatic updates, but if not, it is important that you check for updates regularly. Here is list of popular software and links to the update site:
OS X: http://www.apple.com/support/osfamily
PC Office: http://office.microsoft.com/officeupdate
Mac Office: http://www.microsoft.com/mac/downloads.mspx