6 Dangerous and Old Software Programs You Should Uninstall or Update
Over time, people tend to accumulate software programs on their computers and devices that they’ve stopped using or updating. If this describes you, it’s best to uninstall or disable them because they definitely represent security risks.
Additionally, some programs no longer receive support and updates, and therefore pose trouble. See below for our guidance on handling these problematic software programs.
As of 2016, Microsoft Windows users should stop running Apple QuickTime on their machine. The video-playing program no longer receives Windows security patches. In April, the Department of Homeland Security’s U.S. Computer Emergency Readiness Team issued an alert to Windows users to uninstall QuickTime after discovering two serious security holes. Since Apple no longer supports the software, the unsecured program leaves your machine open to attack.
If you still have QuickTime on your Windows device, uninstall it now. To uninstall, go to Start and open the Control Panel. Click Programs and Features and scroll down to QuickTime. Click once on the program name and then click Uninstall on the top bar.
The program remains safe for Mac users.
The PDF Reader, Flash, and Java Challenges
Many of us use two Adobe products that need special attention — Acrobat Reader and Flash Player. You can set your widely used PDF reader to automatically update in several ways.
To see your options, open your version of Acrobat Reader on your device. Click Edit then Preferences. Scroll down to Security (or Updater,) where you will see four options. If you choose the first, Automatically Install Updates, Reader will install and update the new version of the program.
The second option automatically downloads updates but will not install them until you restart your computer. This may be a good option if you are concerned about your computer restarting at inopportune times.
The third option allows you to have Adobe notify you of an update, but you choose when to download and install. We don’t recommend the fourth option, which essentially opts you out of being notified about automatic updates.
Choose the first or second options to stay hack-proofed, as they let you stay one step ahead. If you have trouble updating your preferences, you can also Google “Set automatic updates for Adobe Reader.”
Flash Player, which makes websites interactive and delivers video and animations, poses a greater problem. Because Flash contains so many bugs, we recommend you to disable it in your web browsers and uninstall the program from your computer. Check our article on how to uninstall Adobe Flash and Oracle’s Java software.
Unsupported Version of Internet Explorer
As of 2016, Microsoft stopped supporting older versions of Internet Explorer including Internet Explorer 7, 8, 9, 10. Microsoft recommended that everyone using Internet Explorer updated to IE 11 or Microsoft Edge (offered on Windows 10). Computers running older versions of IE remain vulnerable to security holes and zero-day attacks as Microsoft no longer sends updates.
Microsoft also no longer supports the Windows XP operating system.
Even if you do not use Internet Explorer but are a Windows user or have it installed on your machine, you must update to the newest version. Hackers can still exploit holes on the older version sitting on your machine.
A lot of iTunes users are running an outdated version of the music program. Many refrain from updating iTunes because they don’t want to adapt to a new design of the music store or their playlists. But iTunes updates contain more than cosmetic changes: Secunia said that iTunes had over a hundred security vulnerabilities in an eleven-month period [source]. One iTunes’ vulnerability allowed Mac users to compromise other accounts on that computer. Another flaw gave hackers the opportunity to intercept users’ passwords. You can’t ignore the “Update” box that pops up every time you open your iTunes account. Ignoring them puts you at risk.
To make sure you run the newest version of iTunes, open iTunes on your computer and click iTunes on the menu bar. Then select Check for Updates to start the process.
As we’ve seen in the previous article, it’s crucial to uninstall dangerous and old programs. Programs such as Adobe Flash Player and Oracle’s Java have become serious security risk. The developers didn’t anticipate the possibility that hackers would continue to search for new ways to infect their software. Now, years later, many PCs hold these unsafe and old software programs. We recommend you to uninstall or disable Flash, Java and QuickTime, and update Acrobat PDF Reader and iTunes music program.