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March 2011

Managing client-side security with patch management best practices

The pervasiveness of Microsoft Windows has made it a favorite target for hackers for years, but client-side applications like Adobe Reader and Flash Player are even more ubiquitous -- a fact that hasn't escaped criminals. Dangerous vulnerabilities turn up in Adobe products on a regular basis. But it's not just Adobe vulnerabilities that put systems at risk. Serious security flaws have been found in other common client-side applications, such as Java, Apple QuickTime, Mozilla browser extensions, and Opera widgets. Microsoft and many large vendors now release security updates and patches to a known timetable, and Microsoft products like Office can be automatically patched using the Windows Automatic Update. However, patches for other common applications such as Adobe Reader, Firefox, and Java can't. Relying on end users to manually install these patches distributes the patching workload but in no way is this ideal as users can't be relied upon to get all the patches installed on a timely basis. The timely patching of software ...

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