Of all the steps you can take to improve your personal cybersecurity, keeping your software up to date is one of the easiest and most effective. Thankfully, researchers at security firm Avast have compiled a list of the most common out-of-date programs installed on PCs to give us some guidance on keeping our computers healthy.
Avast’s 2019 PC Trends Report is a reminder that old technology sticks around longer than you might think. For instance, the researchers found that the average PC is six years old. That’s great news. We want hardware to last as long as possible. What we don’t want is old software hanging out on our hard drives that is almost certainly riddled with known security holes—especially when that software doesn’t even serve a purpose anymore. Look at this list of the top 20 most common out-of-date programs:
Yes, a lot of these programs are still useful. VLC is an excellent media player that you should update now. Everyone hates iTunes but since we’re all locked into it in one way or another, update that shit. But Adobe Shockwave? You don’t need to update it. You need to kill it with fire. Security reporter Brian Krebs was telling users to uninstall Shockwave back in 2014. You might ask: But what if I land on a website that requires Shockwave to be installed? In that circumstance, scroll up to the browser tab, close it, and never think about it again.
According to Avast, 55 percent of all programs are currently out of date, so there’s no need to feel like you’re a slacker; you’re just normal. However, if you’re part of the nine percent of Windows 10 users who need to update their operating system, you should hang your head in shame. Better yet, you should click the Start button, type Windows Update, and work this situation out right now. Depending on when you last updated Windows, you could be vulnerable to nasty Meltdown and Spectre attacks.
It’s worth checking out the full Avast report for reminders about out of date drivers, frameworks, office software, and more.