That type of utility would offer a tremendous improvement in security for friends and family.
4: Alternatively if you use Internet Explorer, click the Start menu and enter Windows Update in the search box and let your computer search for updates.
It’s important to make sure your security software is up to date.
You want to set off a firestorm of comments from angry and frustrated PC users? Last week I wrote about a pair of new security studies that emphasize the importance of updating widely used third-party products like Adobe's Flash Player and Reader to avoid becoming a victim of drive-by malware installations. (That's the euphemism politicians use when they really mean a knock-down, drag-out screaming match.) And I wasn't disappointed.
The single most common complaint I heard was about the frequency of updates for the Flash Player, and what a pain in the rear the update process is, especially for Windows users.
So I decided to do it myself, pulling together what I believe is a complete list, using a variety of sources.* (If you have corrections or additions, feel free to leave them in the Talkback section or send me a note.) Flash Player 10 was released in October 2008.
I can't find any details about updates to the 10.0 release, so my census starts with version 10.1, which was released exactly 16 months ago.
All of the following updates are for Windows; you'll find minor variations in version numbers and release dates if you look at other platforms, although the general timeline is the same. By my count, the Flash Player for Windows has been updated 17 times in the 16 months since Flash Player 10.1 was officially released.
The pace has picked up this year, with 13 individual updates in the past eight months alone. (One noteworthy exception is the May 31 update to version 10.3.181.14, which fixed a horrible bug with Internet Explorer 9 and hardware-accelerated graphics.) Several of them were released to address zero-day vulnerabilities that were being used in targeted attacks by malware authors.
Advanced security systems means you can shop securely online without worrying about phishing emails and identity theft, while Site Advisor uses a traffic-light rating system to let you know when it’s safe to go online.