Fact: Everyone who patches is safer. Fact: Not everyone patches. The gap between the two facts is too deep for even security experts to explain, although they try, with theories running from the conspiratorial -- pirates hate to patch, they say, because they're afraid vendors, Microsoft mostly, will spy them out -- to the prosaic ... that people are, by nature, just lazy.
So rather than recite 2009's patch history -- dismal as it was, with Microsoft, for instance, setting a record in October for the most updates and most flaws fixed in a single month -- Computerworld thought it would be more useful to more users to simply spell out the year's five most important patches.

It wasn't our idea, really. We cribbed it from Qualys' chief technology officer, Wolfgang Kandek, who just last month dug into his company's data to come to an amazing conclusion: People running Microsoft Office could protect themselves against 71% of all attacks targeting the suite by applying just one patch, and a three-year-old patch at that.

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