Despite the reality, that critical vulnerabilities continue to be discovered in popular software applications, virtually on a daily basis, very few computer users monitor their system for insecure software installations.
In fact, according to recent statistics from Secunia, the rate of patching and updating compliance this year, is even less than in previous years. Nothing like going out of the way to help a cyber criminal – as if they need any help!
Experienced users, on the other hand, are unlikely to fall behind in ensuring their systems are patched, and it’s improbable (I hope), that they have insecure programs running on their machines.
So, what makes experienced users different from typical users in this critical area? There’s no great mystery – it’s pretty simple really.
Experienced users are generally more aware, that free, automated applications, designed to take the burden out of updating and patching installed applications, are readily available for download.
CNET’s TechTracker is one of these free services designed to scan a user’s computer to seek out outdated installed applications, and then provide the mechanism to automate updating of outdated software.
According to CNET, their software catalog accesses over 80,000 software titles, making the database “the most comprehensive and trusted database of software products and updates in the world.”
The following screen capture shows the results (in the Taskbar), of my first scan on an outdated test system.
The full report is fairly comprehensive, and shows both outdated and up to date applications. In the following screen capture, I’ve focused on those applications that are out of date.
Updating the out of date applications was easy. A simple click on the “download now” button, gets things underway.
I’d like to see a “download them all” button, or something similar, built into this application. Not very hard to do, I don’t think.
A very cool feature included in TechTracker is setting a preference to receive installed software update notification by email.
System requirements: Windows XP, or newer.
Browsers: Firefox 3+, Internet Explorer 7+, Safari 3+, Chrome current version.
Download at: CNET (registration required).
Similar applications reviewed here:
It’s important to understand that all software of this type may well have shortcomings of one type, or another. For example, this application may not support all programs.
This should not be surprising, given the enormous quantity of available applications. The most popular applications, of course (the ones you are most likely to have installed), are covered.
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