By Thomas Kristensen
As of today, the number of PSI users hits the 500,000 user mark. That's half a million users, who are informed when a new security patch is available for some of the more than 42 million monitored software installations.
Not bad for a program that started out as a small idea and became one of the defining projects of Secunia.
Anyone who's read or referred to the Secunia site in the last five and a half years knows that Secunia was created because we believed in providing accurate and reliable vulnerability information to all users. For us, vulnerability information should be available to everyone the same way that the Internet has become if you are going to go online, you should be aware of the potential threats out there.
We were also very passionate about making people more aware of these threats users did install anti-virus software and firewalls, but these types of solutions always seemed very reactive to us, rather than preventive. We also knew that most malware and hacker attacks made use of known software vulnerabilities for which patches were available. All this information what software and versions are affected, which patches are available, where can the user download it is available in our Security Advisories. But having the common computer user read through our Security Advisories was not going to be feasible. An ideal application, we thought, was one that presented the information in our advisories in a format that was understandable and accessible to computer users of all kinds and capacities.
So we had all the ingredients for a perfect pastry. Reliable vulnerability information, check. Accurate software identification, check (via our exclusive Secunia File Signatures). Up-to-date patch information, check. Mixed together into a robust and efficient application. As the icing on the cake: a user-friendly graphical interface.
We launched the Secunia PSI Beta in July of 2007, which was downloaded and used by more than 30,000 people within the span of one week. By the time we released PSI RC-1 in December 2007, that number had gone up to almost 180,000. Now, about half a year later, after just releasing PSI RC-2, that number is just slightly more than 500,000.
The PSI has been featured in countless magazines, both online and in print, all over the world in many different languages. It's been featured in blogs, forums, podcasts, and newsletters. But what is really exceptional for us to know is how efficiently the PSI is spread via word of mouth. We often read online security forums where the PSI has been cited and recommended as a great tool to assist users in safeguarding against attacks. We also routinely receive feedback in which the user cites that he or she has been installing the PSI in all their friends' computers. It's of course always the highlight of our day to read such positive reactions, but what strikes us as even more encouraging is the fact that people see the value of what the PSI has to offer.
In recent years there has been a virtual deluge of security tools trying to outperform and outdo each other. But we know that what the PSI has to offer is something unique; something that has never been done in this scale before. And we are thrilled that people understand that. However, while the PSI has achieved so much, we feel like the PSI still needs to reach a broader audience. Based on the feedback we receive, most PSI users are computer-savvy. However, because everyone regardless of computer skills is on the Internet today, the need to keep your computers secure with the latest patches is ever urgent. We hope that you can help spread the word about the necessity of software patching, and how the Secunia PSI helps you do exactly that (free of charge).
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