‘Money: It's Personal' — Keeping your information protected

SAN ANTONIO – How often do you update your software on your computer, tablet or smartphone? If you can't answer that question, you may be due for an update, and not doing so may leave your personal information unsecured and make it easier for criminals to access it.

The Federal Trade Commission is letting consumers know about the possible consequences for not updating software on personal electronics.

Computers, tablets and smart phones all hold your emails and financial and tax data. Criminals are able get this personal information by putting harmful software on your devices.

The FTC says a way to protect yourself is by updating your device software regularly and as soon as possible when a newer version is released. Many electronics even have an option to make the updates happen automatically.

The FTC is warning consumers about ignoring reminders to update software, as criminals may exploit vulnerabilities before developers can fix them.

The commission says delaying an update may give hackers time to access your information.

So what software should consumers update to keep their information safe?

Users should start by updating their security software, such as antivirus and firewall programs.

You should also update your operating system software. Check the device settings or computer user panel to see if the system needs an update.

Finally, make sure to update internet browsers and apps on smart devices and computers. The FTC said these programs are access points for criminals, so it's important to keep them up to date and secure.

For more tips from the Federal Trade Commission on software updates, click here.

“Money: It’s Personal” is a series on KSAT’s News at 9 that breaks down personal finance topics. If you have a suggestion or question on the types of topics you'd like us to explain, click here.

For more stories from KSAT's News at 9, visit KSAT.com/newsat9.

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