Tech – for Everyone

Tech Tips and Tricks & Advice – written in plain English.

PSI To The Rescue

This morning I turned on my laptop and was greeted with one of those “critical warning” alert windows — and I was quite happy about it.

Loyal Friends and True to this series know about “rogue” antivirus programs, and how they are known as “scareware” because of how they use phony “Warning! VirusXYZ has been detected on this machine!” pop-ups to try to get you to click their link.
(see, “WINDOWS REQUIRES IMMEDIATE ATTENTION” and Internet Plague – Rogue Antivirus)

But my alert-screen today was not one of those items of crimeware, (though that stuff has become a real epidemic) but a window from a program that I have recommended to my readers several times. It told me that it had found two “insecure programs”; and that one of those insecurities was rated as “critical”.

Loyal Friends and True to this series know that “insecure” means that there are known flaws in the code of these programs which hackers use to “exploit” (aka “attack”) your machine and gain control and plant their keyloggers, backdoors, and mailers. In fact, “exploits” are the primary method of infection.

The program I refer to is Secunia’s Personal Software Inspector and its job is to scan my system for missing updates and patches (which close the “insecurities”). I clicked “show me more” and PSI opened and displayed its results. Listed first is the “critical”..

PSI_alert

Huh. How about that. Adobe Reader managed to sneak back onto my machine (probably, Firefox downloaded it so I could view an online PDF), and SURPRISE! it is critically vulnerable.. again.
I am beginning to hate all things Adobe.. and I make it a practice to keep Adobe products off of my computer. They are the hacker’s favorite. I use Foxit¹ to read PDF’s and Word to create them.

PSI_fixit

By clicking the little “+” sign, Secunia PSI presents me with “one-click” options for fixing the problem. If the vulnerability is in a program I like and want, I just use the first button which will download the appropriate patch/update. This is very cool, and saves many steps.
But since we’re talking about an Adobe product, I click on the Add/Remove Programs button and remove that sucker.
(For those of you that care, the second insecurity was in the Java Runtime, and I did click on “Download Solution”.)

I am very grateful to the good folks at Secunia for not only developing this very important security tool, but making it freely available to the public. Again, you can get it here, Personal Software Inspector.

The most important computer security step you can take is to keep your software patched and updated, and PSI does all the work for you, and offers one-click fixes. Secunia, you guys get a big tip of my geek hat.

Today’s free link: 9 Good Things The Internet Has Ruined Forever

¹ I don’t know how long I will continue to use Foxit. There are currently exploits against it now too.

Copyright 2007-9 © Tech Paul. All rights reserved. post to jaanix

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March 26, 2009 - Posted by | advice, computers, hackers, how to, PC, security

7 Comments »

  1. […] Tech–for Everyone placed an observative post today on PSI To The RescueHere’s a quick excerptThis morning I turned on my laptop and was greeted with one of those “critical warning” alert windows — and I was quite happy about it.Loyal Friends and True to this series know about “rogue” antivirus programs, and how they are known as “scareware” because of how they use phony “Warning! VirusXYZ has been detected on this machine!” pop-ups to try to get you to click their link. (see, “WINDOWS REQUIRES IMMEDIATE ATTENTION” and Internet Plague – Rogue Antivirus)But my alert-screen today was not o […]

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    Pingback by Topics about Plants » Archive » PSI To The Rescue | March 26, 2009 | Reply

  2. Had used very early version of PSI, was bugging me too much about some obscure old DLLs in VisiPics and other things that were less than relevant.

    Need to check recent version. :)

    Like

    Comment by Rarst | March 26, 2009 | Reply

    • Rarst,
      I have been very pleased with this program’s development progress, and am not experiencing any of the ‘false nags’ you describe (on any of my machines, which are now all Vista/Server 2008/Win 7 beta) even when I tell it to do a super-thorough “advanced” scan.

      Also, you can add ‘false positives’ to an ignore list, and manually end those nags that way..

      Like

      Comment by techpaul | March 26, 2009 | Reply

  3. […] Go here to read the rest: PSI To The Rescue […]

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    Pingback by Mac | PSI To The Rescue | Download Free Software | March 26, 2009 | Reply

  4. TechPaul,

    As a result of your earlier recommendation, PSI has been a permanent fixture on my PC. After using it since that recommendation, I have been very satisfied with the performance. My experience tells me that this software will only get better.

    Thank you….

    Like

    Comment by whatsonmypc | March 26, 2009 | Reply

  5. […] I encounter very same app few times in a row I feel like Internet is trying to tell me something. PSI To The Rescue post over at Paul’s blog was last push to revisit Secunia Personal Software Inspector […]

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    Pingback by Secunia PSI – deep app updates and security scanner | www.Rarst.net | March 27, 2009 | Reply

  6. […] PSI to the Rescue – Tech-for Everyone […]

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    Pingback by Geek Squeaks’ of the Week (#4) « What’s On My PC | April 1, 2009 | Reply


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