Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Secunia PSI

Security conscious computer enthusiasts usually always download and install updates to their operating systems as soon as they're released to fix security vulnerabilities and keep OS programs running smoothly. For example, if you're a Windows user, Windows update will provide you with updates for Windows, Microsoft Office & other MS programs, Internet Explorer, and hardware driver updates. But what about that version of Adobe Reader or Flash Player that hasn't been updated since you've installed it? Some of the most efficient security hacks have been exploited through unpatched versions of Adobe Reader, Adobe Flash, and Quicktime Player.

With third-party programs the burden is usually on the user to check for, download, and install updates not necessarily tied to the operating system. I currently have 32 programs installed on my PC. Manually checking for updates daily for 32 programs would be very time consuming, not to mention boring, which leads most people to ignore them, making them more and more vulnerable to viruses and exploits.

I discovered a program called Secunia PSI(Personal Software Inspector), that can do all this for you. It also uses so little memory you won't notice it's running in the background.

Secunia PSI by default runs on system startup after installation and automatically scans the versions of all programs installed on your computer. When the scan is complete Secunia will let you know what programs are insecure on your computer, and provide one click links to download and install patches for insecure programs.

Secunia PSI also provides a simple and advanced version. The simple interface provides one-click solutions for insecure programs, while the advanced version provides version numbers, program and insecure file locations, notification for end-of-life software, and hard drive paths for easy removal of insecure .exe files.

If you brave the advanced setting, be cautious when deleting .exe files. Removing these files can cause some programs to run incorrectly or not at all.

You can download Secunia PSI for free at http://secunia.com/vulnerability_scanning/personal/

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