Launch of Secunia’s New Personal Software Inspector Takes Private Computer Security to the Next Level

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New Version Makes Patching of Software More Comprehensive, Automatic and Easier than Ever

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The goal with the development of the new Secunia PSI 3.0 is to be able to help all users over time almost completely eliminate the update burden, by automatically installing all security-related updates for common end-user programs

PC users will now be able to keep their software more secure with the launch today of the latest version of the Secunia Personal Software Inspector (PSI) from Secunia, the leading provider of IT security solutions that help businesses and private individuals manage and control vulnerability threats. Comprehensive and automatic patching of software and a dramatically simplified user interface are among the new features of the Secunia PSI 3.0, which will help reduce the chore of keeping software programs secure and up to date. The new version of this free software offers extended automatic patching using the Secunia Package System (SPS), thereby removing the dependency on vendors providing silent installers.

The Secunia Personal Software Inspector (PSI) is a free security scanner aimed at home computer users. The Secunia PSI 3.0 will significantly reduce the number of programs that users need to update manually to stay secure. It automatically detects insecure programs - from all software vendors, not just those from Microsoft - that need updating. The Secunia PSI then downloads the required security updates and installs them without any effort from the user, making it much easier to maintain a secure PC. In addition to providing extended automatic security updates, the new version offers a redesigned interface to make it dramatically simpler and extremely intuitive to use.    

Summary of Features

  •     Extended automatic patching using the Secunia Package System (SPS), removing the dependency on vendors providing silent installers
  •     New and dramatically simplified user interface
  •     Non-intrusive authenticated vulnerability and patch scanning
  •     Auto-update of programs
  •     Covers programs and plug-ins from thousands of vendors
  •     Unprecedented accuracy
  •     Reports security status for each.

Thomas Kristensen, Chief Security Officer, Secunia, said, “Though some of the larger software vendors have begun to provide automatic update mechanisms, we still see all too many users ignoring the update requests. With the Secunia PSI 3.0 we have included silent auto-updates for as many programs as possible, because we have learned that the users do not want to be interrupted in order to accept and update when they are trying to work.”

He continued, “The goal with the development of the new Secunia PSI 3.0 is to be able to help all users over time almost completely eliminate the update burden, by automatically installing all security-related updates for common end-user programs. Secunia’s mission is to make PCs worldwide safer. With the release of Secunia PSI 3.0 we are aiming to make the Secunia PSI 3.0 the only tool that users need to keep all their software up-to-date. We want to encourage as many people as possible to download the beta version of the Secunia PSI 3.0 and give us their feedback – it’s safe, fast, simple and free.”

Morten Stengaard, Director, Product Management and Quality Assurance, Secunia, said, "While the Secunia PSI has as many as 4.8 million security aware users, we still have some way to go to fulfil our goal of helping all users worldwide secure their PCs through timely patching. This is what we want to change with the PSI 3.0. “

Craig Spiezle, Executive Director and President, Online Trust Alliance, said, "With the huge increase in malicious targeting of consumers and business users, it is critical to take a proactive approach to patching systems, applications and plug-ins and to drive users to upgrade their browsers. We have a shared responsibility to secure our systems from these threats. With the launch of the Secunia PSI 3.0, which is an excellent tool offering enhanced functionality and ease of use, Secunia continues in the fight against cybercrime and enhancing online trust. We are looking forward to joining the beta programme and would encourage everyone to do the same."
The Secunia PSI 3.0 is currently in beta, which is being made available to allow testing and evaluation by the public, Secunia customers, and the community prior to the final product release in June 2012.

The Secunia PSI 3.0 (beta) can be downloaded from Secunia’s website now at secunia.com/psi_30_beta_launch

Note to Editors
Background to Vulnerabilities, Patching and the Secunia PSI
A reviewer’s guide is available for the PSI 3.0.
According to Secunia’s latest Yearly Report the number of end-point vulnerabilities increased once again in 2011 to over 800 vulnerabilities – a tripling within only a few years - more than half of which were rated by Secunia as either ‘Highly’ or ‘Extremely critical’. Patching insecure programs helps safeguard data and PC against cybercriminals. These cybercriminals are increasingly targeting private PCs. Their entry points are vulnerabilities in popular non-Microsoft programs, which are exploited and used as a gateway to compromise PCs and access confidential data such as passwords, online profiles, and bank details. Attacks exploiting vulnerable programs and plug-ins are often not blocked by traditional anti-virus.

The Secunia PSI works by examining files on a computer (primarily .exe, .dll, and .ocx files). These files contain non-specific meta information provided by the software vendor. This data is the same for all users and originates from the installed programs on your computer — never from their configuration.

After examining all the files on the local hard drive(s), the collected data is sent to Secunia's servers, which match the data against the Secunia File Signatures engine. This information can then be used to provide a detailed report of the missing security related updates for the user’s system. The Secunia PSI automatically performs scans every seven days to ensure that the latest secure versions of the software is installed.

The Secunia PSI is not a replacement for other security measures such as antivirus or personal firewalls — the Secunia PSI is designed as an essential complement to other security measures such as antivirus and personal firewalls as it helps prevent the exploitation of often overlooked exposures. Whilst anti-virus software can protect against viruses, and installation of firewalls can provide protection against some attacks by cybercriminals, individuals and businesses also need to protect themselves against the proliferation of malware and attacks by cybercriminals, which is now recognised worldwide as a major security problem. Programs such as the Secunia PSI, and, for larger companies, Secunia’s Corporate Software Inspector - http://secunia.com/vulnerability_scanning/ - are designed to do this. Not only does Secunia Personal Software Inspector provide extensive details on the software installed on a computer, it also gives you direct links to update programs that are older and potentially not secure. The Secunia PSI program allows users to view any out of date programs installed. It also allows the user to quickly and easily upgrade to new and secure versions of applications.

A vulnerability is a software error which can be exploited with a security impact and gain.    Many vulnerabilities allow criminals to gain control over systems and perform actions ranging from stealing sensitive information (such as credit card numbers, passwords, and personal documents) to automatic installation of viruses, trojans, keyloggers, and other types of malware. Vulnerabilities can affect all applications installed on a computer, including the operating system.

The only real solution to avoid becoming a victim of a hacker exploiting vulnerabilities is to install the latest security updates that the vendor of the program has released. As new vulnerabilities are found regularly, it is important to scan for vulnerabilities on a regular basis.

About Secunia
Founded in 2002, Secunia is the leading provider of IT security solutions that help businesses and private individuals globally manage and control vulnerability threats, risks across their networks, and end-points. This is enabled by Secunia’s award-winning Vulnerability Intelligence, Vulnerability Assessment, and Patch Management solutions that ensure optimal and cost-effective protection of critical information assets.

Secunia plays an important role in the IT security ecosystem, and is the preferred supplier for enterprises and government agencies worldwide, counting Fortune 500 and Global 2000 businesses among its customer base. Secunia has operations in North America, the UK, and the Middle East, and is headquartered in Copenhagen, Denmark.
For more information, please visit secunia.com

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Kari Walker
Secunia
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