WINDOWS UPDATES AND VIRUSES

SECURITY UPDATES: go to http://windowsupdate.microsoft.com and install Critical Updates

Microsoft is strongly advising everyone to install the most recent security update for Windows, and there are alarming news stories about hackers taking advantage of this new security hole and bringing down the Internet or some such. Click here for Microsoft’s explanation of the new security update.

Your computer cannot be attacked through this hole if you use any firewall – a Linksys router, the Internet Connection Firewall built into Windows XP, or a server running a firewall. The hole requires access to ports that are normally blocked from any outside access.

However, it is a good occasion to remind everyone to install Critical Updates issued by Microsoft. If you run Windows XP, you may see an icon in the lower right that says “New updates are ready to install.” Click on it and allow the updates to be installed!

If you don’t see that icon, or if you’re not sure, make it a regular habit to visit the Windows Update site and install anything identified as a Critical Update. The Windows Update site is at the top of your Start menu (in Windows XP, click on Start / All Programs), or you can click here: http://windowsupdate.microsoft.com

My experience has been good; these updates have not caused any new problems, and Microsoft has not used them to do anything inappropriate or unnecessary.

Please note:

• You may have to download large files

• The updates may take several minutes to install (one recent update takes more than ten minutes to finish)

• you may have to visit the Windows Update site more than once before all of them are installed

VIRUS WARNING: update your virus definitions

A new virus arrives as a .ZIP attachment to an e-mail message, with a malicious .HTML file inside. Outlook blocks many potentially nasty file attachments but it does not block .ZIP files, and we don’t normally associate .HTML files with viruses. The message with this virus shows the sender as “Administrator” and the subject “Your account.”

As always: Be careful! Don’t open unexpected file attachments!

Take this occasion to make sure that your virus defnitions are up to date! Everyone should have a current antivirus program and you should be sure that your virus definitions are updated frequently.