Internet security update

It was somewhat ironic that I posted an article containing advice about internet safety in the same week that the Internet Explorer security flaw hit the headlines. It’s a sad reminder of the fact that we live in a society where some people look to cause trouble and pain and to take what doesn’t belong to them.

The flaw has been rapidly fixed and instructions on how to protect your computer can be found here:

If you've got Automatic Updates turned on (which we recommend) you should already have received this update.

This incident serves as a reminder of the importance of keeping all of your software up to date -- a task which should now be as automatic as remembering to lock your doors and windows when you leave your house. This applies to everything from anti-virus software (which is virtually useless if it doesn’t get the regular updates it needs), productivity software, your operating system and your internet browser. It doesn’t matter who has made the software -- all software needs updating -- as these recent articles show:

* Firefox tops list of 12 most vulnerable apps (or see The Register for a different perspective on this)

* Mozilla issues eight Firefox patches

* Opera issued 8 security updates

* Apple released Security Update 2008-008 to address 21 vulnerabilities in Mac OS X

Finally, all the technical precautions in the world can be undone by a careless human error. Social engineer Kevin Mitrick warns that it is easier to trick someone into giving out their password than to hack into a computer system.

Keep your passwords strong (check here to see how yours rate) and secure and keep up to date with advice and guidelines on online security.