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Secunia has taken the wraps off a new version of its consumer patch management tool, Secunia Personal Software Inspector (PSI) version 3.0.

PSI v3.0, released today, offers a free Windows security scanner for private PC users that covers applications from more than 3,000 vendors. The technology differs from previous versions in offering automatic security patch updates for all software application vendors (instead of just a select few) and a simplified dashboard-based user interface. Previous versions of Secunia PSI only provided automatic updates for vendors that made automatic updates available.

Users have the ability to ignore updates to a particular program by creating ignore rules. And the software retains the ability for more technically minded users to dig into update lists. The technology also offers home users the ability to view any out-of-date programs installed for which no security patch is available.

More than five million surfers use Secunia PSI to keep on top of software patching, something that's become particularly important since the volume and risk associated with vulnerabilities in non-Microsoft (third-party) programs is on the increase.

PSI v3.0 offers support for five languages including French, Spanish, German, Danish and English. The software has been refined by lessons learned during the course of a four-month beta development programme, which began in February. Morten R Stengaard, director of product management and quality assurance at Secunia, said the focus of the Danish firm's development efforts has been on "simplicity and usability".

According to the latest version of Secunia’s annual report, the number of end-point vulnerabilities increased once again in 2011 to rack up at total of 800 vulnerabilities. More than half these flaws were rated by Secunia as either 'highly' or 'extremely critical'.

Attacks exploiting vulnerable programs and plug-ins are often not blocked by traditional anti-virus, hence the importance of patching. Keeping third-party programs as well as core windows components up to date is particularly important because attacks against Java and Adobe applications has become a hacker and virus writer favourite over recent years. Secunia PSI is designed as an essential complement to other security technologies, such as anti-virus and personal firewalls, rather than a replacement.

A video explaining the PSI 3.0 is available via YouTube here. Secunia PSI 3.0 can be downloaded from Secunia’s website here. ®

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