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home : columns : icitizen
August 20, 2019


6/27/2019 10:30:00 AM
The importance of updates and UAC

Today I want to reiterate the importance of updates, as two very important updates have come out recently. I also want to cover why UAC (User Account Control) is important.
The first update was from Microsoft, and it affected a huge number of computers. Luckily for most of our readers, they are protected from this particular attack by their router's firewall. However, for many businesses, large and small, it has a large impact. Computers that are set up with remote access through Microsoft's RDP program were able to be logged into without a name or password. That means a malicious actor can simply log in and start installing programs or stealing information.
Even though most home users are safe, an infected device could have still spread it to you. For instance, a friend's laptop is infected and they bring it to your house. That laptop also could have infected your computer. That is what is so dangerous about this update. As long as you're up to date with Windows Update, you are safe. Microsoft fixed the problem within a day or so of it being reported.
The second update was actually for Dell's SupportAssist program, and is related to UAC. UAC is the prompt that comes up saying, "Do you want to allow this program to make changes to your computer?" when you run certain programs. It's a very important prompt. When you click "yes" that program can make any changes it wants to your computer. Having anti-virus helps keep bad programs away the best it can, but UAC is the last line of defense, and you should always be careful about clicking "yes." The way that this is related to Dell SupportAssist is that there was a vulnerability that allowed any program to skip the UAC prompt and make changes without your permission. This is how bad documents and other attachments sent in emails have gotten viruses into computers in the past, and it comes up quite often.
Again, Dell offered a patch quite quickly, and as long as you're updated there isn't an issue. If you do have a Dell computer make sure it is updated, or simply remove SupportAssist. If you've gotten your Dell computer recently from iCitizen it may already be removed when you bought it.
I do want to point out how it's not just Windows updates that need to be installed. When you see updates for Adobe Reader, Microsoft Office, or other plugins and programs it's always a good idea to update. If you're not sure if you're up to date or just want an expert opinion, feel free to stop by iCitizen.






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