Many companies are producing tools that scan the computer for security vulnerabilities. Some provide their functionality on a website while others are applications that have to be installed on the computer. F-Secure Health Check is a product of the first category. It provides access to a scanner that checks the operating system and installed applications for vulnerabilities and outdated versions. Unfortunately though the health check only runs on Microsoft Internet Explorer 6 or newer with Active X enabled.
An Active X control has to be downloaded prior to the scan. A health report is generated in the end that is displaying red, yellow and green icons in various categories. Red items are critical, yellow medium and green safe. My test results have been mixed. I did receive several red icons in some categories because of programs that were not included in my security concept. The red icon in the security products category for instance was there because of the disabled Windows Firewall and no other firewall that was installed.
It did not detect the hardware firewall of my router. What I want to say is that even though some elements are marked as insecure they might not be in your special case. Another example was the yellow icon in the Sending Mail category which was there because of an old backup version of Eudora 5 which I do not use anymore. I think I did receive a yellow rating because of two up-to-date email applications (Thunderbird and Outlook Express).
The most interesting categories in my opinion are the following two: Opening multimedia files and documents & Using other programs. It did detect some outdated applications (that I do not use regularly or forgot about). What I really like is the option to solve the issue right away by clicking on the solve button. This normally leads to a page where the updated application or patch can be downloaded.
It does not take long to update all the applications listed this way. F-Secure Health Check is an interesting service that excels in solving issues that have been found. A pity that it only works in Internet Explorer and that it requires Active X.
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.