Q. I keep getting these pop-ups telling me things need to be updated and such. How can I tell the real ones from the fake ones?
This can be a difficult question to answer, as there are so many possibilities. However, the first thing I would advise is to KNOW what you have installed. I have seen many instances where people have infected their computers clicking on a pop-up stating that a program THEY DID NOT EVEN HAVE INSTALLED needed an update. Quite a bit of common issues can be prevented by simply being aware of the programs you ARE running or have installed!
There are, however, many legitimate times your computer WILL alert you when it requires an update. For example, Microsoft® Windows® will generally prompt to install updates and restart your computer around the second Tuesday of each month as they release the updates to their systems. Other programs such as PDF readers will ask for the same thing. This is expected, and you should allow them to update to keep a solid defense against new threats. Knowing WHAT programs you have will help you determine the relative legitimacy.
One of the most important pop-ups you need to be aware of and familiar with is the one associated with YOUR security program(s) when it wants to alert you to a possible infection. There are MANY different manufacturers and versions of security software out there…excessively numerous to specifically list here. Your best action would be to visit your chosen solutions web site and become familiar with the assorted alerts you may receive. Each manufacturer typically will have a “Frequently Asked Questions” section to assist you.