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Review of Secunia's “Software Inspector” - Detects Insecure Application Versions
Secunia has released a free on-line scanner that determines if your Windows 3rd party software has security updates available. The scanner works through your web browser and we found it surprisingly well thought out.No Longer Supported
Most of us have become complacent about updating our 3rd party applications. The Microsoft Windows Update program does a good job of taking care of the operating system and Internet Explorer for us and Microsoft Update takes care of many other Microsoft applications, including Office. But what about all those other applications installed on our computers? Especially browser plugins and applications that start when you download files with registered extensions (eg; media playlist files or streaming media files). Many of these applications become part of our browsing experience and can open us up to some pretty nasty exploits. In fact there are several exploits out now for common applications such as Apple Quicktime, Sun Java, Adobe Reader, etc. These applications need to have security patches applied every bit as much as Internet Explorer or the Windows operating system.

Besides filling an important need Secunia's Software Inspector also works very well. It uses Java so it works equally well with Internet Explorer, Firefox, and Opera (Windows 2000, Windows XP, and Windows 2003). Microsoft ActiveX is not required. It is also very fast and does exactly what it advertises. If you have one of the supported applications installed on you computer (see list below) and there is a security update available for it Software Inspector will tell you. It will also provide you with links to the software updates and to Secunia's security advisory, nice touches. Secunia Software Inspector works using Secunia's own signature database, not through simple methods such as installation directory, file name or file size Therefore it is very accurate and not likely to produce false warnings.

In testing it found multiple versions of some applications and plugins installed on the same computer and correctly identified each version. You may not even know you have both an up to date version and an older version installed. In some cases this is very important. As a SANS Internet Storm Center article recently pointed out Java applets can specify which Java JPE it wishes to use, so even if you have installed a newer version an older version hanging around on your computer can still leave you vulnerable. Software Inspector can help you find and remove those old versions. Just for good measure it will also scan your Windows patches and notify you if you are missing any or if there is a newer version. Screenshot

Scanning is free and the scanner installs no spyware, adware, or anything permanent on your computer. Secunia is a well respected security company and their security vulnerability advisories are followed daily by many in the security community. You can use the following link to run a scan on your computer (we derive no income from this banner or from Secunia).


Click here for a list of supported applications.

If you are looking for a free online virus, spyware, or malware scanner we maintain a list of them here. Most of those do require Internet Explorer and ActiveX.

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Posted by NIST.org on Wednesday 24 January 2007 - 16:47:34 | |printer friendly
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