Keep your software, apps and antivirus program up to date


Antivirus protection is your building’s security guard. Make sure you have one and that it’s kept up to date.

Viruses and malicious software (malware) can infect any device and operating system, whether it’s a computer, phone or tablet. Once it’s there, it can lock you out, steal your information, ask for money to unlock your data (ransomware) or even spy on you in your home!

Most systems have anti-malware already built in, for example Microsoft Defender, so make sure you’re using one. Also, consider installing extra antivirus on all of your devices (which can often have a free subscription level, such as Trend Micro HouseCall). An antivirus program checks everything that accesses your computer and will alert you if it spots any malicious activity. 

Software and apps

Make sure that all internet-connected devices ‒ including PCs, smartphones and tablets ‒ are running the most current versions of their operating system and apps, and that they have antivirus software installed.

From time to time you'll receive notifications on your computer, smartphone or tablet to tell you that the system or an app is ready to be updated. Although it’s tempting to ignore these messages, it makes sense to carry out the update (but do make sure it’s not a malicious pop-up ad disguised as a system message).

These updates often add new features but, more importantly, they also patch security weaknesses. Using out-of-date software makes your devices more vulnerable to cyberattacks.

Read more:

National Cyber Security Centre – Top tips for staying secure online