There are some 32 million vulnerabilities found in computers worldwide, simply because users are not updating their software, according to findings from security vendor Kaspersky Lab.

"By failing to install the latest updates, users are exposing themselves to an enormous risk and making light work for the cyber criminals seeking to exploit these vulnerabilities," said Jimmy Fong, channel sales director of Kaspersky Lab, Southeast Asia.

"Failure to update explains why exploits for patched vulnerabilities are still among the most widespread malicious programs detected on users' computers," said Fong.

Kaspersky Lab pointed out that cyber criminals are starting to extend their attacks from Microsoft Windows systems to other popular software including Adobe's Flash Player and Adobe Reader.

"In order to combat this, a new product called Adobe Updater was released which automatically downloads and installs patches for programs installed on users' computers. The problem is that these updates become a useless defence against cyber criminals if users do not play their part by installing the latest updates," said Fong.

According to Kaspersky Lab, users can avoid incurring infections caused by attacks on vulnerable software by following the basic rules of computer security:

• Regularly check for software updates;

• Install updates as soon as they are released;

• Do not click on unknown links or open emails that appear in your inbox if you do not know or trust the sender; and

• Use browsers with inbuilt filters that block phishing and other malicious websites such as Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox and Internet Explorer.