Unpatched and out of date operating systems and applications are the primary target for the malware infection and dissemination. The malicious exploits are developed very rapidly. Updating just operating system is no longer sufficient. Malware authors are constantly looking for a new attack surface in commonly used programs such as Adobe PDF Reader, QuickTime, Adobe Flash and Microsoft Office. According to the SANS paper “The Top Cyber Security Risks”, application vulnerabilities exceed OS vulnerabilities. Read more about updates.

Manual check for updates for each of the applications can be quite a task. Luckily this task can be simplified. To see if your computer is at risk, you can run a free Online Software Inspector (OSI): http://secunia.com/vulnerability_scanning/online/ . This scan is web-based and uses Java, so you do not have to download or install anything special.

After you run the scan, there are likely to be at least one or two apps that need updates. If there are vulnerable applications reported you will be provided with links to download the updates.

You also have a choice of downloading Secunia Personal Software Inspector (PSI) for Home Users that is also free and designed to detect vulnerable and out-dated programs and plug-ins which expose your PC to attacks: http://secunia.com/vulnerability_scanning/personal/ .

Secunia OSI and PSI will not only scan for vulnerabilities in approximately 100 well-known apps , it will also give you direct links to update older and vulnerable programs.

From Secunia:
The Secunia PSI allows you to scan, detect, check, and secure the applications installed on your computer. Get an assessment of the applications installed on your computer are they insecure, end-of-life, or patched. The Secunia PSI enables you to secure your applications, and to quickly and easily upgrade to new and secure versions of applications installed on your computer. Providing a graphical presentation of your performance week by week.