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26 June 2009, 11:20

Secunia release Personal Software Inspector version 1.5

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The Secunia PSI 1.5 secure browsing tab.
Zoom The Secunia PSI 1.5 secure browsing tab.
Browsers are gradually replacing emails as points of entry for malware of all kinds. As a result, closing known vulnerabilities by keeping all of the browser-related programs updated has become more important than ever. Version 1.5 of Secunia's Personal Software Inspector (PSI) update tool for Microsoft Windows aims to provide assistance in this respect, offering a dedicated section on "Secure Browsing". The "Secure Browsing" feature gives users an overview of whether important components like the Flash plug-ins, Java or browser libraries are vulnerable and in need of an update, although the overview is only displayed once users switch from "Simple" to "Advanced" mode.

In a first test on the Windows 7 release candidate, PSI pointed out vulnerable XML libraries for Internet Explorer 7 and 8 and recommended an update – even though the software was current. On a sparsely maintained Vista system, PSI recommended that none of the installed browsers should be used, because both the browsers and their plug-ins contained critical vulnerabilities.

Windows systems in the UK have on average, three unpatched applications.
Zoom Windows systems in the UK have on average, three unpatched applications.
Another new PSI feature is a worldwide overview of vulnerable applications and of the patch status on Windows systems – of course, these figures only take into account systems that have PSI installed and are therefore returning information to Secunia for evaluation. The feature has no real practical use, but it is possible to compare one's own system security to that of a system in Burkina Faso (20 unpatched programs on average).

In the company blog, Secunia's Mikkel Winther explains that PSI users in the US have been able to decrease the average number of unpatched programs. While, according to the blog, average US systems without PSI have twelve unpatched applications, systems with PSI are said to have only four. According to Winther, "updating your programs and PC with the latest security updates is more important than having an anti-virus program and using a firewall".


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