One of the best security pracitces within the computing industry is patching. Patching not only improves software by fixing bugs and adding features, but it also fixes vulnerabilities in software, that can lead to your computer to getting viruses or other malware. New vulnerabilities in the devices and programs are discovered on a daily basis, so It's very important that patches for operating systems, devices and any programs be applied regularly and when they become available.
Good patch management, though, can be a challenge and an annoyance to people who have only so many hours in the day and many other things to worry about. Luckily, there is a free tool that can help with getting patches installed regularly and, more importantly, with very little interaction. Secunia PSI is a free program I've been using for a while now to help with patch management on my computer, as well as my family and friend's computers.
Download the program, no sign-up is required (another excellent plus). Install the program and then open it.* Click 'scan now' to initiate a discovery scan of all the programs on your computer. At this point, you can return to your regularly scheduled computer programming. Really, that's it.
*Sometimes when you first try to open the program you'll get a message about it having problems connecting to the internet. Give it a few minutes and if it says it's still having problems, then reboot your computer.
Once Secunia has completed it's initial scan it will start patching programs on your system, automatically. There are some programs that will require a manual download and install, but Secunia PSI will provide you a direct link to the patch(s) that need to be applied.
There will be exceptions: Sometimes a program doesn't have a patch available yet; and other times applying a patch causes issues with other programs. The Secunia PSI tool will, however, get 80-90% of your programs patched with requiring any interaction from you.
Patch management is one of the most important things you can do to keep your computer safe from malicious activity. It's also one of the easiest things you can do, with the right tool.
If you have any questions feel free to leave a comment or contact me directly via email or Twitter.