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Beyond Antivirus Software: Eclectic PC Security Tools for System-wide Audits | PCWorld

Beyond Antivirus Software: Eclectic PC Security Tools for System-wide Audits | PCWorld

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Published by Carl Thorne

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Published by: Carl Thorne on May 30, 2013
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09/14/2014

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Beyond antivirus software:Eclectic PC security tools forsystem-wide audits
Welcome to a harsh reality: Relying on an ostensibly comprehensive antivirus suite justdoesn't cut it in 2012. Antivirus software is crucial for combating viruses, malware, and hackers, but simplyinstalling an antivirus program is rarely enough. You should also use strong passwords;keep your system, applications, and browser plug-ins up-to-date; and make sure yourfirewall is doing its job by blocking all intrusions. Following these extra safeguards canreduce the chances of your PC becoming a Petri dish full of digital contagions.Luckily, a number of tools and services can simplify all the extra security precautionsthat modern PCs require. They go above and beyond what's offered in antivirussuites, performing security audits of vulnerabilities that the big-name software packagesmiss. Here are five to check out.
Qualys BrowserCheck
 An outdated browser or plug-in can serve as a security hole for hackers and malwareauthors to exploit, so you’ll want to keep your web software up-to-date. QualysBrowserCheck (https://browsercheck.qualys.com/) is a free service that scans your Webbrowser to determine if you’re running outdated or insecure versions of some popularplug-ins or add-ons, including Adobe Reader, Adobe Flash, Java, and Windows MediaPlayer.
Eric Geier
@eric_geierNov 13, 2012 3:30 AM
 
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You can run a quick scan from your browser in Windows, Mac, or Linux. You don't evenhave to download any software—Qualys runs completely within your browser.Supported browsers include Internet Explorer (IE), Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome,Safari, Opera, and Camino. Once Qualys BrowserCheck completes its scan, it listswhich plug-ins it scanned, and indicates whether you’re running insecure versions ofany of your plug-ins, and if any updates are available. The scan also provides links towhere you can download the newest plug-in version, so you don’t have to hunt aroundfor it.
Sample results from a quick Qualys scan. Look at that: The Java plugin needs an update.
 Alternatively, you can run a full scan after downloading and installing the QualysBrowserCheck plug-in, which supports IE, Firefox, and Chrome on Windows—there'sno Mac or Linux support for the full scan. This full scan can check all supportedbrowsers you have installed, not just the browser you used to run the scan. And the fullscan can also detect other system vulnerabilities as well, such as no automaticWindows Updates or Windows Firewall running, or out-of-date or disabled antivirussoftware.
Beyond antivirus software: Eclectic PC security tools for syste...http://www.pcworld.com/article/2013814/beyond-antivirus-soft...2 of 65/30/13 9:56 AM
 
Sample results from a full scan in Chrome after downloading the plug-in.
Once Qualys BrowserCheck finishes doing its thing, you’ll see a list of scanned plug-insfor your current browser, and icons to view the results for each of your other browsers. And if you choose to do system checks, you'll see a tab showing its results as well.
Secunia Personal Software Inspector (PSI)
Secunia Personal Software Inspector (PSI) (htt
 
p://secunia.com/vulnerability_scanning /personal/) is a free program that scans your PC for security vulnerabilities, like missingupdates that hackers and malware authors can exploit to infect or hack into your PC. IfPSI finds a vulnerability, it will try to automatically download and install any relevantupdates. Otherwise, it helps you manually fix the issue. After you download and install Secunia PSI, it will scan your system and notify you viaits system tray icon if other programs require a manual update. You can open theprogram to find your Secunia System Score, a list of any programs that need to beupdated, and a list of any software that it found to be up-to-date.
If your Secunia System Score is below 100 percent, you’ll find icons for the vulnerable programs,which you can click on to resolve the issue.
Password Security Scanner
Password Security Scanner (http://www.nirsoft.net/utils /password_security_scanner.html) is a free utility that scans for passwords stored byWindows applications and Web browsers, and tells you how strong they are. This givesyou a chance to identify weak passwords, and change them to something more secure. Although you can’t see the actual passwords, you can see the username and which siteor service they belong to.The Password Security Scanner runs on Windows, and it will scan passwords stored byInternet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Microsoft Outlook, Windows Live Mail, andMSN/Windows Messenger, as well as your dial-up and VPN passwords.
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