Updates 2010-03-09

Hey folks!

Patch Tuesday has come again, including anywhere from two to five updates for Windows and Office. These are all security updates. A reboot may be required.
This is the last chance for updates to Windows XP SP2, too, so if you’re still (foolishly!) using SP2, PLEASE take the time now to install Service Pack 3. That will get you at least a few more years of use out of XP, and it’s really a necessary step for XP (and has been for at least 3 years). Likewise, Vista RTM (the original release) will also “die” soon, so you need to install SP2 for that, if you’re running Vista (or go straight to Windows 7!). Finally, all versions of Windows 2000 will officially be retired in July, and no more updates will be provided. While it was one of the most stable versions ever released, if you’re still using Win2K today, you really need to upgrade. If your computer won’t support a newer Windows OS, consider switching to a “live” distribution of Linux: It’s free, and many of the features you likely require from your machine are supported out of the box. Add OpenOffice.org and it’ll be a better machine than it was with Windows 2000 during it’s heyday.

If you have not done so already, please update your Adobe Reader, Flash and other Adobe plugins immediately. According to security software company F-Secure, 61% of all malware today uses Adobe Reader, and another large chunk exploits Flash and other Adobe vulnerabilities. From Adobe Reader 9+, use “Help, Check for updates” to install security updates. The same is true for most other non-plugin Adobe software. Here’s the important links to specific downloads:
Be sure to uncheck any toolbars, add-ons and other “offers” both during download and during installation.

Important Notes

Everything above this section should be checked by everyone on every computer. Chances are good that close to every single computer you touch will be affected by those updates. This is not the case with the items below, though you should still check each line item below to see if it applies to software you have installed.

Please remember that while I list many different applications within these updates, most people should ONLY install updates for a program if they already have a previous version of that program installed.

It is essential to maintain all the applications you have installed on your computer, but often you can minimize the time investment and the potential for exploitation simply by uninstalling software you do not need.

Media updates:
These are unlikely to be of interest to most people.

RealPlayer SP 1.1.1 is released today. This is likely a security update. If you’ve still got RealPlayer installed, I would personally recommend uninstalling it in favor of one of the Codec Packages, but if you opt to keep it, please update ASAP.

Vista Codec Package 5.6.3 improves VNC support, and updates several codecs. This is not a security update. Note that Vista Codec Package DOES support Windows XP. If you’re having trouble on an older machine getting web or downloaded audio or video to play, try this Codec package!

Utility updates:
These are unlikely to be of interest to most people.

FileHippo Update Checker 1.036 is a performance improvement. This is not a security update. If you’re using UpdateChecker, be sure to change the settings option to “hide Beta updates”. This will enable you to see the most current “live” version of an update that may be hidden if a Beta update is available!

Avast! Free Antivirus 5.0.462 was released today as well. No changelog, so no indication of what is different over the previous build, but if you’re using Avast!, you should check for program updates right away. This should be considered a security update.

Roboform 6.9.99 uses a new certificate, and fixes issues with the MSI installer and policies for Enterrpise. This should be considered a security update, since the certificate for previous versions will expire soon.

MyDefrag 4.2.9 provides various performance and reliability fixes. This is not a security update.

Web Package Updates
These are likely to be of interest only to web developers.

phpMyAdmin 3.3.0 provides replication support, new import/export modules (with progress indicators!), synch of structure between servers, and a number of bug fixes. This version requires PHP5 and MySQL5. This is not a security update.

That’s all for now folks. Keep it clean out there. 😉


Shawn K. Hall

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