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 When vendors become aware of security vulnerabilities in their software, they work to correct them, much like covering up a hole in a pair of jeans. These corrections are called updates or patches.

At UWG software patches or updates from Microsoft or other major vendors are updated when they become available. You might have seen a message in the “shut down menu” when shutting down your work machine at night, which says “Install updates and shut down”. Or you might have arrived in the morning to find that your machine has rebooted or needs to reboot. Typically this means that updates have been installed and the rebooting needs to happen to apply them.

Typically the software installed on your computer will look for updates. When a vendor offers customers to sign up to receive update notifications, it is a good idea to ‘accept’ this offer. A pop-up box may then inform you each time patches or updates are available. Simply follow the steps to install them. In the case this option is not available it’s good to be disciplined in frequently checking a vendor’s website for announcements. It may be that the individual computer user has to retrieve the patches from that website by downloading them. Remember it is important to install any updates as soon as they are available in order to protect your machine.

Finally a word of caution: be sure to download software and patches only from sources you trust. Do not trust a link in the body of an email claiming to be a software patch. This is a fairly common method for scammers to link you to a website where viruses are masqueraded as patches. As a rule, do not trust emails with an attachment claiming to be a patch. Such attachments are usually also viruses.