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Microsoft OS Updates and Need for Anti-Virus Protection

  1. Oct 1, 2014 #1


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    Hi all,
    Do the changes/updates that Microsoft does periodically lower the odds of a virus successfully
    hurting the system? My knowledge of programming and of computers is limited, but it would seem viruses would have to be designed around the way the OS is setup. Then it would seem that a virus designed to attack version "x" of Windows would not be as successful in attacking a higher version "y" of the same Windows O.S. Is this correct?
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 1, 2014 #2
    Remember Microsoft Update doesn't necessarily update programs you have on your computer, which may have security holes that need patching by updating the program itself.
  4. Oct 1, 2014 #3


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    Ah, thanks, good point; I had not thought of that. Good thing I asked.
  5. Oct 1, 2014 #4


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    Software like Adobe Flash Player is notorious for having security flaws which will allow malware access to your computer.


    To protect yourself, you need to keep up to date on OS security patches and application software security patches, and have a good suite of anti-virus tools installed on your computer, just in case.
  6. Oct 2, 2014 #5
    Yes : microsoft support for Windows XP has ended ... http://windows.microsoft.com/en-gb/windows/end-support-help
    So XP is more vulnerable to exploits than the later Windows versions, as they will receive security patches.

    The NoScript addon for the firefox browser allows you to white-list trusted sites which you permit to use Adobe flash ( & Java , & JavaScript), that reduces your "attack surface" when browsing the web, ( and stops annoying animated adverts which need Adobe flash to run, which are just a waste of your computer's CPU time and internet capacity ).
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2014
  7. Oct 19, 2014 #6
    On the flash issue, I would suggest "flashblock". It simply blocks flash by default (including annoying UI and advertisement) and allows you to enable it by clicking on it once or adding the site to the whitelist.

    Also, adblock or adblock plus keeps a lot of malware at bay because a lot of honest sites serve up dishonest advertisements.
  8. Jan 6, 2015 #7


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    If you're on Windows 7 or 8, Windows Defender is free and decent. It wants you to update its definitions frequently (often every day), which can be annoying, but it also doesn't bring down the CPU or tend to interfere with programs unexpectedly like some commercial anti-virus programs do.
  9. Jan 8, 2015 #8
    Yes, almost all malware gains access to systems by leveraging some vulnerability within the software/hardware install on said system. If you make sure you stay patched, you will be able to rule out a vast majority of the malware. Keep in mind that this may mean having to go to several different sources for updates.

    If your OS is Windows, you use Open Office for word processing and have Chrome for a browser, then updates from microsoft will only fix problems with your OS, it won't address any issues in Open Office and Chrome. You'll need to make sure you have them set to automatically update (Chrome does it by default) or you're still vulnerable when browsing the internet or opening a document you got in your email.

    Basically, if some program on your computer interacts with data from the internet, then you should do what you can to ensure it's kept up to date.

    Also, spend the 5 minutes it takes to reboot the computer when windows tells you it needs to reboot to apply updates. When microsoft releases a patch, they are effectively telling the world, "Hey! we found a problem in our program." Then hackers look at the patch to figure out what the original problem was, and rush to build an exploit specifically to take advantage of people who don't update their system quickly.

    Antivirus/antispyware programs are also very important but not as important as staying up to date on patches, if you're really careful you can get by without using an antivirus (very inadvisable) but you're toast without updates.
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