One of the single most important security steps you can take, is to keep all your software current and fully up to date.
This is particularly important for your operating system, be it Windows or Mac (or Linux), which will often have a security fix whenever a vulnerability is discovered.
We recommend that you set your software updates to automatic.
On a Mac (currently safer than Windows), go to System Preferences (in Finder, Applications), Software Update and tick the box 'Check for updates' and set it to Daily, and also check the box 'Download updates automatically'
In Windows, we recommend firstly that you make sure you're running the latest version of Windows, and Windows Update, by going to Start, Windows Update and checking there first (through Internet Explorer)
After this, make sure that Automatic Updates are set to on:
- Click Start, click Control Panel, and then double-click System.
- On the Automatic Updates tab, click Automatically download the updates, and install them on the schedule that I specify.
- Click to select the day and time that you want to download and install updates, or better still choose Automatic (recommended) Automatically download recommended updates for my computer and install them
Apart from the OS, all other installed programs could be vulnerable to exploits, so it's worth frequently checking within these programs that they too are up to date.
Many of these will have an auto update option accessible from the program menu bar, under Preferences on a Mac and often Options or Tools under Windows.
It's best to set this to automatic so that the program alerts you when there's a software update.