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Protecting Data - Building Block #2: Keep vendor software up-to-date

A simple way for you to keep your computer and the data on it safe is to make sure that the vendor software on your computer is always up-to-date.  With out-of-date software, your computer can be a very easy target for hackers. 

When a vendor releases software updates that address security vulnerabilities, hackers analyze the update to find the software flaw. They can then write computer code that exploits the flaw, and probe the Internet to find and attack systems that haven't yet been updated.

Keeping your computer's vendor software up-to-date fixes these known vulnerablilities and makes your computer harder to attack. To make the task of updating software easy and most timely, you can set your computer's software and application programs to automatically apply updates, or to notify you, as soon as they are available.  

For more information about setting automatic updates for your system, see "How to use Windows Update and configure Auto Update" or "How to update and run Software Update (Mac)."  If you would like assistance with setting automatic updates on your system, contact your department's SCAD, or contact the OIT Help Desk at 8-HELP or help@princeton.edu.

Note, software updates are automatically applied to computers that are in the DeSC program.  For more information about DeSC, see www.princeton.edu/desc

If you'd like to read more ways to protect the data on your computer and other 'building blocks' to safe computing, see "Security 101:  The Building Blocks of Safe Computing."