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Commentary

Keep Your Browser Updated

During the Labor Day weekend, I got pulled in by friends and relatives (some remotely) to take care of their computer-related problems.
During the Labor Day weekend, I got pulled in by friends and relatives (some remotely) to take care of their computer-related problems.We worked together on making sure automatic updates were enabled, removed unwanted software packages, and installed AV software where necessary. We also did some browser-related hygiene and, in one case, removed five toolbars that had made their way into the system. These toolbars actually occupied one-third of the screen real estate and caused quite an impact on her Internet experience.

In addition, I made sure they became familiar with BrowserCheck, a new service we recently released at Black Hat USA to help consumers and business users to keep their browsers up to date. BrowserCheck analyzes the update status of the browser and its installed plug-ins and provides clear instructions on how to update the browser or its plug-ins if they are found out-of-date. It focuses on ease of use, and it is an experiment in reaching out directly to the end-user community with the intention of reducing the attack surface for drive-by attacks. In the past two months, we have had more than 100,000 users and the feedback has been excellent.

Check it out here and let us know what you think. You'll notice a feedback form on the page, and we are building a community here. I will tweet every once in a while (http://twitter.com/wkandek/status/20334713959) on a success story at twitter.com/wkandek.

-- As the CTO for Qualys, Wolfgang Kandek is responsible for product direction and all operational aspects of the QualysGuard platform and its infrastructure. Wolfgang has more than 20 years of experience in developing and managing information systems. His focus has been on Unix-based server architectures and application delivery through the Internet. Wolfgang provides the latest commentary on his blog: laws.qualys.com and also publishes his Patch Tuesday commentary to the QualysGuard channel: www.youtube.com/QualysGuard. He is a frequent source in business and trade media and speaks at industry conferences around the world, most recently at RSA 2010.

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