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Microsoft / Adobe Patch Cycle And Software Updates

by Graham Needham (BH) on 15th June 2011

Microsoft and Adobe have adopted "patch" cycles. This is usually the second Tuesday of the month. Regardless of any "critical security" updates they also have a regular quarterly patch cycle for some of the larger application suites like Microsoft Office and Adobe Creative Suite.

Microsoft and Adobe have some of the most common application software in use (Creative Suite, Adobe Reader, Office) along with web browser plug-ins galore (Adobe PDF, Flash, Shockwave, Silverlight) and if you happen to use Windows then there is the operating system itself plus the Internet Explorer web browser too. Because of the common use of all of these products they are prime targets for hackers and virus/malware writers. In addition if you are using a Macintosh computer you are using Apple's own software (such as Mac OS X, Safari, iTunes, QuickTime, QuickTime web browser plug-in, Snow Leopard malware definitions) which could be affected too. What does this mean for you regardless of whether you are a normal user or a network administrator?

It basically means that you will probably be using at least one (if not many more) of these products and therefore your computer could be open to some form of security risk unless you keep up-to-date on software updates. Add to this that the Patch Tuesday and quarterly patch days by both Microsoft and Adobe can all end up falling on the same day (such as Tuesday 14th June 2011 when there were 15+ potential updates released for Mac users alone) it means you will need to be on the ball and set aside some time getting your computer up to date each month/quarter. The solution is to make sure you set up a regime for keeping up to date. The information below will help you do this.

If you are thinking of putting off updating your software bear in mind that most of the Adobe / Microsoft security updates patch "critical" security holes some of which are being actively exploited on the internet/in the wild at the time of release let alone the fact that once patches are released it allows malware writers to exploit these holes on un-patched systems. Just because you are on a Macintosh computer does not make you immune! Yes, there may be no "viruses" (yet) for Mac OS X but malware and phishing attacks do exist and they will use these unpatched security holes to exploit you and your computer. Even if the worse case scenario in some cases is simply going to be to crash your computer that's still lost time and possibly work. Therefore it's worth staying up to date.

Keeping On Top Of Your Security Updates

Check list for keeping your software up-to-date

  • Set your software to automatically check for updates (see the articles above for instructions).
  • Follow MacStrategy on Twitter.
  • Set a reminder for the second Tuesday of every month (Patch Tuesdays are usually on USA time so if you are in the UK you could set your reminder for first thing on the second Wednesday morning).
    • Set a reminder in iCal
      1. Open iCal (Macintosh HD > Applications > iCal)
      2. Go to File menu > New Event (Command+N)
      3. Go to Edit menu > Edit Event… (Command+E)
      4. Enter a name for the event e.g. "Microsoft/Adobe Software Patch Tuesday
      5. Set "from" to 14/06/2011 18:00 (if you are in the UK)
      6. Set "repeat" to Custom
      7. Set "Frequency" to Monthly - Every 1 month(s)
      8. Choose "on the" and set "second" and "Tuesday"
      9. Click "OK"
      10. Set your preferred "alarm" e.g. "Message with Sound"
      11. Under the subsequent alarm set your preferred sound and time for alarm e.g. "15 minutes before"
      12. Set any other items you may require in the event
      13. Click "Done"
    • Set a reminder in Microsoft Entourage
      1. Open Microsoft Entourage (Macintosh HD > Applications > Microsoft Office 2004 or Microsoft Office 2008 > Microsoft Entourage)
      2. Go to File menu > New > Task
      3. Enter a name for the task e.g. "Microsoft/Adobe Software Patch Tuesday
      4. Tick "Reminder" and set to 14/06/2011 18:00 (if you are in the UK)
      5. Set your preferred "Priority" e.g. "Highest"
      6. Set "Occurs" to Custom
      7. For "Recurrence Pattern" choose "Monthly" and set it to The "second" - "Tuesday" of every "1" month(s)
      8. Set "No End Date"
      9. Tick "Recurring task"
      10. Click "OK"
      11. Go to File menu > Save (Command+S)
    • Set a reminder in Microsoft Outlook for Mac
      1. Open Microsoft Outlook (Macintosh HD > Applications > Microsoft Office 2011 > Microsoft Outlook)
      2. Go to File menu > New > Task
      3. Enter a name for the task e.g. "Microsoft/Adobe Software Patch Tuesday
      4. Set "Reminder" to 14/06/2011 18:00 (if you are in the UK)
      5. Click on the "Recurrence" icon (at the top of the window) and select "Custom…"
      6. Set "Repeats" to "Monthly", Every "1" month(s)
      7. Set "On" to "Second" - "Tuesday"
      8. Set "Start date" to 14/06/2011
      9. Set "End Date" to "None"
      10. Click "OK"
      11. Go to File menu > Save (Command+S)
    • Set a reminder in Google Calendar
      1. Login in to your Google Calendar account.
      2. In the top left click the "Create Event" button
      3. Enter a title for the task e.g. "Microsoft/Adobe Software Patch Tuesday"
      4. Set the date and time to be 6/14/2011 6:00pm to 6/14/2011 7:00pm (if you are in the UK)
      5. tick the "Repeat…" option
      6. In the 'Repeat' window set Repeats to "Monthly" and repeat every "1" months
      7. Set Repeat by "day of the week" (which should set the summary at the bottom to "Monthly on the second Tuesday"
      8. Set "Ends" to "Never"
      9. Click "Done"
      10. Configure the rest of the calendar event as required specifically the "Reminders" section e.g. "Email" - "1 hour", "Pop-up - "1 hour"
      11. Click the "Save" button at the bottom of the page
  • Subscribe to MacStrategy's free software update email notification service (coming soon).

Blog Post Author = Graham Needham (BH)
Blog Post Created On = 15th June 2011
Blog Post Last Revised = 25th January 2018 12:24
Blog Post URL =

This blog post is representative of the blog author's individual opinions and as such any opinions that may be expressed here may not necessarily reflect the views of everyone at MacStrategy or the holding company Burning Helix.

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