Security Patching

Patching and Security

Overview

Your computer's operating system must be kept up to date by applying security and other patches that are released by the operating system supplier. If this is not possible alternative protection for the computer, such as a firewall should be sought. Advice is available from IT Staff.

Microsoft Operating Systems

Newer windows operating systems have functionality called Automatic Update which enables networked computers to download Windows operating system patches from http://windowsupdate.microsoft.com automatically. A similar non-automatic system exists for Microsoft Office products http://officeupdate.microsoft.com. Users are recommended to use the combined system for both Windows and Office at http://update.microsoft.com to ensure that all updates for Windows and Office are applied.

Windows 95/98/ME and Windows NT

You should regularly visit http://windowsupdate.microsoft.com and check to see if updates are available. Install all critical patches and any others as necessary. Also check for office updates at http://officeupdate.microsoft.com.

Windows 2000 and Windows XP

Automatic Updating should be turned on. Also check http://officeupdate.microsoft.com

For windows2000 and XP (only) the Department also runs central Windows Software Update Services (WSUS) Server which you are strongly encouraged to use. The major benefit is that the patches that your computer may require are downloaded to a department server from where they can be distributed to you thus reducing network traffic. This system also enables department IT staff to monitor the update status of all machines obtaining updates from the local WSUS server.

Macintosh Operating Systems

Mac OS X users should apply all Apple software updates [top left apple menu: software updates].

Unix/Linux Operating Systems

Since many unix/linux operating systems are developed as open source systems, they evolve quickly and security flaws are introduced and patched frequently. It is critical that unix/linux users are patch their systems frequently (preferably automatically).