The Secunia Personal Software Inspector (or PSI in short) is a free security tool designed to detect and update vulnerable and outdated programs and plug-ins installed on your computer which expose your PC to attacks. These type of attacks attacks which exploit vulnerable programs and plug-ins are rarely blocked by traditional anti-virus software and are therefore increasingly used by cyber-criminals.
The only solution to block these kind of attacks is to apply regular security updates, commonly referred to as patches. Patches are offered free-of-charge by most software vendors, however, finding all these patches is a tedious and time consuming task. Secunia PSI automates this and alerts you when your programs and plug-ins require updating to stay secure. It not only tells about the usual updates for Microsoft Windows but every single program found on your computer.
You can download the free Secunia PSI tool from http://secunia.com/PSISetup.exe. The download is in form of a setup file which you have to install. The download file is merely 1.7 MB in size and takes only a few seconds to download. Once you have downloaded, double-click on PSISetup.exe to install it.
After the installation is over you can run Secunia PSI by running it from its Start Menu shortcut. You need an active internet connection for Secunia PSI to work as it checks its database located at its servers. Secunia PSI will start to scan your system and checks your system for vulnerabilities and outdated programs. After the scan is over, you will be shown a summary of the results along with a score given to your system. A score of 100% means that you have all the updated programs. A lower score means that you have one or more outdated and vulnerable programs.
You can click on the Scan Results on the left side to see the actual results. The results window would be a list of all the programs found on your system. You would be shown which programs are vulnerable and not updated. On my system it found five insecure, vulnerable and outdated programs. A threat rating is also shown for every program in the list. A green rating means program is updated and secure. A red rating means that program is very insecure and you should immediately update it. Next to a vulnerable program you would see a link to updating and installing the solution. Clicking on that link would open a webpage on which you can download and install the latest updates to that program.
You can open the Settings window under the Configuration menu on the left side in the Secunia PSI window. In the Settings section, you can choose many options like starting Secunia PSI on boot, monitoring newly installed programs and warning you if that program is outdated or vulnerable. You can also choose which drives to scan for vulnerable programs when Secunia PSI scans your system among many other options.
Secunia PSI is extremely easy to use and will alert you on most applications that are in need of an update. It is recommended that you let Secunia PSI run at Windows startup and monitor the program changes. If you do not want to run Secunia PSI everytime Windows boots, then you should manually scan your system at least once a week with Secunia PSI to stay updated and protected.