Two problems with Secunia Online Software Inspector

The excellent Online Software Inspector has a couple new minor problems. Still, it's a great service for anyone running Windows.

Update October 20, 2008 Noon EDT. According to Secunia they now detect version 10 of the Flash Player and they have corrected their FAQ. However, the most important issue, treating version 9 of the Flash Player as good rather than bad has not changed.
Update October 20, 2008 9 PM EDT. An email from Secunia said they don't consider version 9,0,124,0 of the Flash Player to be bad because it is the latest edition of version 9 and because Adobe still supports version 9.

I've mentioned previously that I'm a big fan of Secunia's Online Software Inspector for rooting out old buggy software on a Windows computer. Although it's not perfect, Windows users are much better off with it than without it. But there are two recent issues.

Sample report from the Secunia Online Software Inspector.

One long-standing issue is that OSI is a Java applet and Secunia could do a better job of making new users aware of the Java requirement--not only what Java is, but also the required version and the currently installed version.

First problem

What's new about Java is that the necessary version has been updated.

As I write this, Secunia's FAQ says Java version 1.5.0_12 or later is needed, while its system requirements page says that Java 1.6.x or later is needed. I discovered the hard way that the system requirements page is correct.

As part of installing the latest version of the Adobe Flash Player, I tried to run a Secunia scan on a system with Java version 1.5.0_15, only to have it fail in a new way. After trying to load Java 50 times, it gave up and issued the error below.

Running Secunia OSI with an old version of Java.

I can only assume this has something to do with the Online Software Inspector update on October 16.

So, what version of Java, if any, is installed on your computer? See my www.javatester.org Web site.

Second problem

The other problem with Secunia's OSI is that it is behind the times on the Adobe Flash Player.*

For one thing, it still thinks version 9 of the Adobe Flash Player is OK. According to Adobe, it's not. Then too, it does not yet detect version 10 of the Flash Player at all.

I'm sure Secunia will get up to speed on the Flash Player soon. Its Online Software Inspector is still a very valuable service, and the new version seems to run much faster than the old one (even though it can't count to two--see screenshot below).

The Secunia Online Software Inspector reports an inconsistent number of errors.

*This was tested again Sunday October 19, 2008 at 3 p.m. EDT.
Initially tested Saturday October 18, 2008 at 7 p.m. EDT.
See a summary of all my Defensive Computing postings.

About the author

    Michael Horowitz wrote his first computer program in 1973 and has been a computer nerd ever since. He spent more than 20 years working in an IBM mainframe (MVS) environment. He has worked in the research and development group of a large Wall Street financial company, and has been a technical writer for a mainframe software company.

    He teaches a large range of self-developed classes, the underlying theme being Defensive Computing. Michael is an independent computer consultant, working with small businesses and the self-employed. He can be heard weekly on The Personal Computer Show on WBAI.

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