Magazine Articles - 4 - Focus Magazines for Over Wyre and GarstangSoftware is a general word which covers all the programs or applications or packages which turn a box of cables and electronics into a magic device ...
Computer Safety no. 3: 01-March-2013
We’ve covered hardware ie. computer equipment over the last couple of months, so it’s now time to take a look at the software side of the computer safety triangle.
Software is a general word which covers all the programs or applications or packages which turn a box of cables and electronics into a magic device which allows you to send and receive emails, book train tickets, write letters, do your accounts, talk to your friends, play games etc.
There are three basic types of software – the central operating system, front-end main applications, and background packages.
For most of us, the underlying operating system is Microsoft Windows
and depending on how old the computer is this could be:
- Windows XP
- Windows Vista
- Windows 7
- or if a very new device Windows 8
The operating system kicks into life when you switch the machine on.
Main applications you would choose to use might include
- the web browser (eg. Internet Explorer, Firefox, or Chrome)
- a word processor for creating documents (eg. Microsoft Word)
- photo editing software (eg. PhotoShop)
or any games or other items you utilise on your computer
Background applications include
- Adobe Reader
- and FlashPlayer
These are not normally programs which many people notice or choose to use, but they will be used automatically when needed (usually by a website).
If you don’t allow or force your machine to install updates you are greatly increasing the chances of your machine being affected by serious malware problems including viruses.The operating system, background programs, and browsers all need to be updated on a regular basis. Some of these updates will fix specific problems (eg. preventing your machine from freezing) or give you some new features, but many of the updates are for security issues. If you don’t allow or force your machine to install updates you are greatly increasing the chances of your machine being affected by serious malware problems including viruses.
Generally these updates will be installed automatically or your computer will prompt you when it’s time to do something with them. However, it’s important to make sure that Windows, Java, Adobe Reader, FlashPlayer and Firefox (if you use this) have been set to do auto updates. If you’ve ever seen any little messages in the bottom right corner of your screen about all of these then it’s likely the automatic settings are in place, but if you haven’t seen the messages or are unsure then check them out or ask a friend for help.
Even with automatic updates running, you still need to be alert. If an update message appears telling you that updates are ready, click and get them installed as soon as possible. And you can double check to see if any are needed at any time – if you don’t know how to do this yourself get a friend to help, check for advice online or ask an expert.
Next month I will be taking a closer look at some very important specific software – internet security packages.
I’ll finish with my standard reminders - there is plenty of advice available on the Get Safe Online website at www.getsafeonline.org, and if you have any questions or concerns about security, then please do give me a ring for a quick chat.
- Date: March 2013
- Publication: Over Wyre Focus & Garstang Focus
- Page: Over Wyre - 42 / Garstang - 18
- Link: www.focusmags.co.uk