With all the stuff you have on your computer, how can you ever tell what’s out-of-date and might need to be patched?  Secunia to the rescue!

Security company Secunia (with an N, even though it looks like an R, which would sound a lot more secure – but it’s not my company) offers a free-to-home-users security scan.  Not for viruses and worms, but for out-of-date and unpatched software that would allow more of the bad stuff through.  Download the Personal Software Inspector from here, install it, and let it scan.  Mine took just over 8 minutes, but that’s on a fast PC without too much software on it.  The results are easy to understand.  I got all green, because I don’t have any unpatched programs.

(I’m intending to ignore the part where my 100% score is 85% worse than systems that don’t have this software.  Maybe it wraps around?)

Up at the top, there’s a place where you can choose to see a more advanced view of the process.  I did that.

This let me go through the details of what Secunia PSI looked at.  I was most interested in that Secure Browsing part.

So there’s nothing more I can do.  It missed seeing my Google Chrome browser, but I’m sure they will pick it up at some point in the future.

Two more benefits.  First, if it finds something out of date, it will give you a link to update the program.  This is very helpful – not just flagging a problem, but also offering the solution.  The other neat thing is that Secunia offers an on-line scanner, which isn’t as heavy-weight but still hits the most common programs.  Great for if you borrow a PC, or need to check a public one.

Finally, I chose not to have Secunia PSI running all the time on my PC.  I will run this when Microsoft comes out with their monthly patches, and save the CPU cycles for other things.  That setting is under the Advanced side, then Settings.  I un-ticked both of these:

It’s not as safe, but that’s a risk I understand and am willing to take.  It’s safer to have this running all the time.  It’s safer to live in a bubble than do hazardous things like driving a car, too.  But that’s a post for another time.

At two million program downloads, and four million on-line scans, Secunia PSI is a solid and useful tool.

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