Do you stay on top of computer software updates or do you wait for your computer to remind you that out-of-date software is leaving your machine open to malware and viruses? If, like the majority of the population, you only consider internet and computer security when an issue occurs, you could be leaving your laptop vulnerable to viruses, phishing and other hacking problems.
Luckily, technology giant Microsoft realises that for many internet users, updating computer software is something easily forgotten, and the software firm has recently announced plans to “silently” update users to the newest version of its Internet Explorer browser.
Using outdated versions of a browser can be both risky and frustrating, with older versions of IE unable to support certain types of web content and also leaving a machine vulnerable to more sophisticated and recent malware scams.
Many phishing scams target those using out-of-date software, luring them to install fake updates which are in fact viruses that can lead to a computer becoming corrupted and unusable.
Microsoft IE head Ryan Gavin explains: “The web overall is better – and safer – when more people run the most up-to-date browser. The biggest online threat these days is socially engineered malware, which typically targets outdated software like web browsers.”
From January next year, Microsoft is planning to update all IE users to the most modern version of its browser. Many less than technologically savvy users may not even be aware of the version they are currently using, or just how out of date it is, so the news is certainly positive for general internet safety.
Those who want to move on from IE to a different browser – Firefox or Chrome for example – can also opt out of the automatic update plan, and users who have already declined update requests for Internet Explorer 8 or 9 will also be exempt from the silent update scheme.
The silent updates will begin in Australia and Brazil, and UK users can expect to be running the latest version of Internet Explorer before the end of 2012. Once the update is complete, users will see the same home page they had before when they open the net, and default browser and search provider settings will also remain unchanged.