Tag Archives: patching

Secunia PSI 3.0 (Beta) – Automatic, Comprehensive Patching Of Insecure Applications

imageOne of the most frequently repeated pieces of advice on this site is – “Keep all applications (including your operating system) patched, and up to date”. Taking this simply step, reduces the likelihood that malware will become an issue a user will have to deal with – significantly.

Sounds like good, practical advice – and it is. But as those of us involved in computer security know; this is advice that is not always followed. Some hold the view (including me), that it is rarely followed.

One particular application that I have reviewed and recommended a number of times – that assists users in keeping a system fully patched is – Secunia Personal Software Inspector (PSI) – which constantly monitors a system for insecure software installations, notifies the user when an insecure application is installed, and then provides the user with detailed instructions for updating the application, when available.

There’s less reason now, than ever, to disregard this critical advice. Today, Secunia launched version 3 (Beta) of its free Personal Software Inspector (PSI), with a host of new features. The new version makes patching software more comprehensive, automatic, and easier than ever. How simple is that? PSI 3 takes the burden out of updating and patching.

Fast facts:

Extended automatic patching using the Secunia Package System (SPS), removing the dependency on vendors providing silent installers.

It automatically detects insecure programs – from all software vendors, not just those from Microsoft – that need updating.

The Secunia PSI then downloads the required security updates and installs them without any effort from the user, making it much easier to maintain a secure PC.

New and dramatically simplified user interface

Non-intrusive authenticated vulnerability and patch scanning

Auto-update of programs

Covers programs and plug-ins from thousands of vendors

Unprecedented accuracy

Reports security status for each.

Wondering just how PSI does its job? Secunia explains:

The Secunia PSI works by examining files on a computer (primarily .exe, .dll, and .ocx files). These files contain non-specific meta information provided by the software vendor. This data is the same for all users and originates from the installed programs on your computer — never from their configuration.

After examining all the files on the local hard drive(s), the collected data is sent to Secunia’s servers, which match the data against the Secunia File Signatures engine. This information can then be used to provide a detailed report of the missing security related updates for the user’s system. The Secunia PSI automatically performs scans every seven days to ensure that the latest secure versions of the software is installed.

The Secunia PSI 3.0 (beta) can be downloaded from Secunia’s website now at Secunia.com/PSI.

Previous reviews of this must have application here include:

Not Running Secunia PSI? Why Not?

Secunia Personal Software Inspector – Insurance Against Vulnerabilities

How secure do you think you are? Run a quick scan of your computer with Secunia Online Software Inspector.

About Secunia:

Founded in 2002, Secunia is the leading provider of IT security solutions that help businesses and private individuals globally manage and control vulnerability threats, risks across their networks, and end-points. This is enabled by Secunia’s award-winning Vulnerability Intelligence, Vulnerability Assessment, and Patch Management solutions that ensure optimal and cost-effective protection of critical information assets.

Secunia plays an important role in the IT security ecosystem, and is the preferred supplier for enterprises and government agencies worldwide, counting Fortune 500 and Global 2000 businesses among its customer base. Secunia has operations in North America, the UK, and the Middle East, and is headquartered in Copenhagen, Denmark.

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Filed under 64 Bit Software, Application Vulnerabilities, downloads, Freeware, Malware Protection, Secunia

Free FileHippo Update Checker – Excellent Alternative To Secunia PSI

I gotta love the regular readers here – they definitely keep me on my toes. Based on a recent article – Not Running Secunia PSI? Why Not? – a number of readers had the same question (both in comments and privately); what about FileHippo Update Checker? Rightfully so – FileHippo Update Checker is an outstanding application in its own right.

Luckily (whew!), I had reviewed and recommended this solid freebie back in May, 2010. Based on reader feedback, I’ve edited this previous article (including updated graphics), and reposted it here.

Free FileHippo Update Checker – A Very Cool Tool

image One of the most frequently repeated pieces of advice on this site is – “Keep all applications (including your operating system) patched, and up to date”. Sounds like good, practical advice – and it is. But as those of us involved in computer security know; this is advice that is not always followed.

Experienced users are generally aware that free, automated applications, are readily available for download, that take the burden out of updating and patching.

One particular application that I have reviewed and recommended a number of times – that does just that is, Secunia Personal Software Inspector (PSI), which constantly monitors a system for insecure software installations, notifies the user when an insecure application is installed, and then provides the user with detailed instructions for updating the application, when available.

Like all applications, PSI is not perfect. The most common complaint seems to be, that after updating applications it may still report that specific applications are out-of-date, or pose a threat.

Regular reader, and IT pro, Georg L., from Vienna, Austria, has pointed out that an alternative to PSI, which is compatible with x64 systems, and which does a comparable job of checking your installed software for critical updates, and security fixes, is FileHippo’s free Update Checker.

Following Georg’s recommendation, I sparked up an older test machine, and downloaded and installed Update Checker. The test scan took only a matter of seconds. Less than 3 seconds in this test – virtually in the blink of an eye!

The updated Browser screen shot below, illustrates the results obtained following the Update Checker test scan.

image

For testing purposes I clicked on the green download arrow which opened the following download applet, so that I could update one of my favorite free utilities – CDBurnerXP

image

I must admit, I was pleasantly surprised when I noticed FileHippo’s Update Checker returned results for Beta Updates as well – as the following screen capture indicates. For those users who like to test Beta software, this is a definite bonus.

image

It’s important to understand that all software of this type may well have shortcomings of one type, or another. FileHippo’s Update Checker, for example, does 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.

From the developer’s site:

We work hard to include as many programs as we can in the Update Checker, but we currently cannot detect them all. This can be for various reasons, including: technical issues, publisher limitations or lack of consistent version numbering. However, we’re constantly advancing our detection methods and working with publishers to improve this.

Note: The Update Checker will not send any personal information back to FileHippo.com. The only information collected is a list of programs and their versions, along with the operating system details to help with processing.

Additionally, none of this information is linked to your IP address; the logs are deleted after processing.

Recommendation: I was quite impressed with this application’s speed, and thoroughness. A definite practical alternative to Secunia Personal Software Inspector.

If you’re inclined to do so – download both applications, take them for a spin, and form your own opinion. You’ll have a little bit of fun!

System requirements: Windows 7, Vista, XP, 2003, 2000, ME or 98. (both 32 and 64 bit where applicable). Microsoft .NET Framework 2.0 (the installer will prompt you and download it automatically).

Download at: FileHippo

If you found this article useful, why not subscribe to this Blog via RSS, or email? It’s easy; just click on this link and you’ll never miss another Tech Thoughts article.

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Filed under 64 Bit Software, Anti-Malware Tools, Application Vulnerabilities, Cloud Computing Applications, Computer Audit Applications, Cyber Crime, Don't Get Hacked, downloads, Freeware, Recommended Web Sites, Software, System Security, Utilities, Windows Tips and Tools

Free FileHippo Update Checker – A Very Cool Tool

image One of the most frequently repeated pieces of advice on this site is – “Keep all applications (including your operating system) patched, and up to date”. Sounds like good, practical advice – and it is. But as those of us involved in computer security know; this is advice that is not always followed.

Experienced users are generally aware that free, automated applications, are readily available for download, that take the burden out of updating and patching.

One particular application that we have reviewed and recommended a number of times that does just that is, Secunia Personal Software Inspector (PSI), which constantly monitors a system for insecure software installations, notifies the user when an insecure application is installed, and then provides the user with detailed instructions for updating the application, when available.

Like all applications, PSI is not perfect. The most common complaint seems to be, that after updating applications it may still report that specific applications are out-of-date, or pose a threat.

Regular reader Georg L., from Vienna, Austria, has pointed out that an alternative to PSI, which is compatible with x64 systems, and which does a comparable job of checking your installed software for critical updates, and security fixes, is FileHippo’s free Update Checker.

Following Georg’s recommendation, I sparked up an older test machine, and downloaded and installed Update Checker. The test scan took only a matter of seconds. Less than 3 seconds in this test – virtually in the blink of an eye!

The Browser screen shot below, illustrates the results obtained following the Update Checker test scan.

FileHippo Checker

For testing purposes I clicked on the green download arrow which opened the following download applet, so that I could update one of my favorite free utilities – Auslogics Disk Defrag.

FileHippo Checker 2

I must admit, I was pleasantly surprised when I noticed FileHippo’s Update Checker returned results for Beta Updates as well – as the following screen capture indicates. For those users who like to test Beta software, this is a definite bonus.

FileHippo Checker 3

It’s important to understand that all software of this type may well have shortcomings of one type, or another. FileHippo’s Update Checker, for example, does 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.

From the developer’s site:

We work hard to include as many programs as we can in the Update Checker, but we currently cannot detect them all. This can be for various reasons, including: technical issues, publisher limitations or lack of consistent version numbering. However, we’re constantly advancing our detection methods and working with publishers to improve this.

Note: The Update Checker will not send any personal information back to FileHippo.com. The only information collected is a list of programs and their versions, along with the operating system details to help with processing.

Additionally, none of this information is linked to your IP address; the logs are deleted after processing.

Recommendation: I was quite impressed with this application’s speed, and thoroughness. A definite practical alternative to Secunia Personal Software Inspector.

If you’re inclined to do so – download both applications, take them for a spin, and form your own opinion. You’ll have a little bit of fun!

System requirements: Windows Seven, Vista, XP, 2003, 2000, ME or 98. (both 32 and 64 bit where applicable). Microsoft .NET Framework 2.0 (the installer will prompt you and download it automatically).

Download at: FileHippo

If you found this article useful, why not subscribe to this Blog via RSS, or email? It’s easy; just click on this link and you’ll never miss another Tech Thoughts article.

11 Comments

Filed under Computer Audit Applications, Don't Get Scammed, Don't Get Hacked, downloads, Freeware, Software, System Security, Utilities, Windows 7, Windows Tips and Tools, Windows Vista, Windows XP