How do I know an automatic update is legitimate and not a virus. eg Java update.?

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It is quite difficult for non-technical people to identify what is legitimate. There are some huge pit falls, for example installing "anti-malware" software that is in itself malware. If you have reputable anti-virus software installed, if you don't download toolbars and instant messenger add-ins, then your computer is probably quite clean. All the software installed and running on it should be safe. Now you need to identify whether a message is coming from your browser or from your computer. If it's coming from your computer it will look like a native application. If it's a dialog it will be in a window that doesn't mention your web browser, you will be able to move it around by dragging it about. If you're using a Windows-like shell it may be associated with the system tray in the bottom right of the screen. These things tend to mean it is coming from software already installed on your computer, and if they're already there their either good or you already have problems. If it's ... more
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