How Secunia can help you

The Online Trust Alliance grew out of a series of summits that began in latter part of 2004. The well-attended summits, sparked by the continued growth of bad e-mail, created an interest that expanded in scope beyond e-mail issues and eventually into a more permanent solution as the OTA whose stated mission is to "...create and promote business practices and technologies to enhance on-line trust and the vitality of ecommerce and on-line services."

Last week, the OTA gave out their 2010 awards related to protecting consumers and making the Internet a safe place. Two of the awards went to Secunia, makers of software that I first wrote about in July 2009. The awards validate the good work done by the folks at Secunia and warrant another look at how their free software can help any home user.

The software is called the Secunia Personal Software Inspector; it is a program that will scan a system, report deficiencies and offer solutions via links to the appropriate Web sites. PSI focuses on the things that are far too often over-looked by some users taking the guesswork out of keeping a system more secure. I'm referring to things whose flaws are increasingly becoming the target of malware. Those things include common Adobe applications, browser plug-ins, etc.

Secunia offers two methods to use their product the first of which is an on-line scan; the other involves installing an application. Start by visiting secunia.com/products/consumer/ and deciding which option to use either of which option is fine.

Users choosing to install the program, please remember to close and save any work in progress before running the installation routine. After installation allow the program to scan the system after which the program displays a list of rated security threats with a solution for each one.

Ron Poland is a professor in the Computer Information Systems AAS program at Clinton Community College. Poland is certified in computer repair and networking by the Computer Technology Industry Association (CompTIA). He is also a Cisco certified network assistant. Questions may be sent to him via e-mail at ron@ronpoland.com.

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