Set your device for automatic software updates to guard against viruses

DES MOINES — Iowans are being reminded that a recent critical security patch for Windows computers and cellphones is a good reminder to keep those software updates automatic.

Information security expert Mike Masino says it’s the easiest way to ensure your computer or phone is secure.  “Your machine’s only as good as the last update that you have on it,” Masino says. “If you’re not putting those updates on, you’re leaving yourself open for security problems.”

Masino says the patch fixes a security bug that came as a surprise to Microsoft.   “When an advisory comes out like this, this means it is actively being used to attack people,” he says. “Patch it now. That’s the idea, or it can do a lot of damage.”

Masino says updates like this keep hackers and criminals from getting into your computer and stealing files.  “If you’re one of the people who refuses to patch your computer, well, anyone who can find that code sitting online now has access to your computer,” he says.

In the past, some system updates have broken functionality for some users, but Masino says the safety of your data and your financial information is vital. It’s best to set your system to automatically install updates, and when your phone or computer says a restart is required to fix something, you should do it right away to ward off attacks.