Recommended Security Tool for Windows Users

Again, a “compgeeky” post, but one Windows users would do well not to skip.

Secunia PSI (Personal Software Inspector) is a tool from, obviously, Secunia–a highly-respected software security organization. Free for personal use (with some very minor and inconsequential to the average user limitations), Secunia PSI inspects the software installed on a Windows computer for known security issues, recommends fixes and even conducts the user to the proper place to download patches.

For Windows users, I consider it a “must have”. It’ll save the average Windows user tons of headaches down the road… provided the user actually… uses it. It’s not dummy-proof as it does allow users to turn off warnings about applications that require patching, but it’s certainly better than relying on Windows Updates alone, which, at best, patches only Microsoft products. When it catches the need for patching.

As an example, I thoughtlessly allowed a program to install its version of the Ask Toolbar. I knew better, but just clicked through (being “in a hurry” or distracted is no excuse). Secunia PSI notified me of the insecure app and the fact that it was unpatchable, so I simply uninstalled it. (BTW: if you have the Ask Toolbar taking up space in your browser, nuke it. Just sayin’. Go to Control Panel and uninstall it. Really.)



See that yellow bar at the bottom? Yep. That’s when the Ask Toolbar was installed. Notice the “2 browsers are insecure”?


Yep. Both the 32-bit and 64-bit versions of Internet Exploder: insecure and unpatchable. ‘S’all right. I ONLY use ’em to visit Microsoft’s site, and only when a page requires IE. The broswers I do use when I’m using Windows, Opera and Firefox, pass the Secunia PSI inspection for known vulnerabilities.

BTW, you notice I’ve included multiple links to the download page for Secunia PSI, right? Take the hint.

Micro-mini-update: Although it’s not primarily a security advisor tool, the venerable Belarc Advisor also lists patches to software–and missing patches–along with its other inventory of a Windows PC. Useful. Saves its inventory as an html file that can be posted, emailed, to tech, etc. Much preferred to Windows Device Manager for hardware info.

10 Replies to “Recommended Security Tool for Windows Users”

    1. I’ve seen Windows installations that, at first glance, could have used a hammer. *heh*

      Oh! A recent system where the user had taken the advice of a co-worker and on her home computer had UNinstalled her anti-malware and installed a piece of (co-worker recommended) scareware. No protection whatsoever, just loads and loads of popups asking for money and warning of dire consequences if the “full” version weren’t bought.


      No, I did not feel like telling her to take her computer back where she had bought it and to tell them she was too stupid to use one. Really, I didn’t. I just cleaned the scareware off, installed some decent anti-malware, scanned and cleaned her system (yes, malware galore) and called her ISP to get them to re-enable access for her (they’d cut her off when “she” kept emailing a worm–yeh, one of those. She’d infected herself and the worm was sending out copies of itself, complete with spoofed email addresses as being “sent” from folks in her addressbook. Her ISP could tell the worms were emanating from her account, so shut her off.

      Coulda used a hammer, instead, though…

  1. Hmm..

    Your Secunia System Score of 99% is 3% HIGHER than the average user from Washington, United States.

    Compared to users WITHOUT the Secunia PSI installed, your Secunia System Score is 85% WORSE – install patches now!

    So… I have the program installed, and it gives me a 99 rating (somehow I have to figure out how to remove an older version of Flash – even though I have the newest one installed).

    But that 99 rating that I get with the program installed is 85% worse than the rating of people who don’t have it installed?

    Something seems odd to me.

  2. That is odd, Perri.

    Lovely Daughter is around today, and so I’m playing “elephant playing a harmonica” on her lil HP 110 Mini, just kinda cleaning out the HP crapware, unnecessary HP utilities, cleaning out unneeded software, atching programs etc.

  3. Figured it out. Rebooted the system and when it restarted the 85% WORSE rating turned into a positive rating.

    I needed to reboot the system anyway, even though Secunia has ways to reload it’s interface and exit the “realtime monitoring”. The insecure file that was detected couldn’t be removed without a reboot because it was in use.

  4. As it only seems to show 1 attack vector for IE, I’d have to say that’s outstanding for IE. That alone would probably make it the most secure IE ever.

    It comes down to this, many of the reasons people bitch about Linux and/or Mac or even Windows (after they started pretending to care about security) is that “it” is annoying and hard to use.

    Well, shit, the “it” that is annoying and makes it “hard to use” is the security features! I’d bet money that if you put people in front of two machines, one secure, one completely open, they’d choose the open machine.

    Its the same as the people that bitch at the airport. “Security” to most folks is just something/someone to blame when things go south. They don’t actually want security.


    1. “That alone would probably make it the most secure IE ever.”

      Yeh, my instances of (rarely–extremely rarely used) IE all have in their title bar, “Internet Exploder 8: sucks less than previous versions.”

      “Its the same as the people that bitch at the airport. “Security” to most folks is just something/someone to blame when things go south.”

      Well, similar. The TSA has YET to catch ANY bomb parts in security tests. TSa is just Security Kabuki Theater: Full Employment for High School Dropouts and Profoundly Stupid Thugs, IMO. They all seem to fit the quote attributed to the Centurion in a Shaw play, “When a stupid man does something he knows is wrong, he always claims it is his duty.”

      But yeh, folks do run their computers “open” far too often. OTOH, security in a Linux box is almost transparent. Sure, installing programs, updating system files, etc., requires typing in ones PW on most Linux boxes, because most Linux boxes are properly configured to run w/o elevated privileges, but that’s soooo notaproblem. For anyone with more than two active brain cells. Oh. Right. Average computer user. Yep. That could be a problem all right…

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