Browser optimize

Free browser tool scans for security problems, eases end user support

For any IT professional, a certain amount of friends and family technical support is part of the deal. In this blog post, IT pro Rick Vanover showcases a free tool to help us in that endeavor.

In the course of supporting end users outside of the workplace, inevitably the root of most issues frequently gravitates to poor browsing habits. Whether the problem is websites that someone shouldn’t really be visiting, trusting any available game download site, or a poorly configured browser, it is up to us to find a solution. How many times have you heard, “So you work on computers, okay, well, I’ve been having this problem…”-- you know how it goes.

Recently, I came across a free tool that gives IT professionals an easy way to start the inevitable task of supporting end users outside of the workplace. Information security risk and compliance services company Qualys offers the BrowserCheck service for inspecting Web browser configurations. BrowserCheck scans everything from the operating system, to the browser and the plug-ins. If your advice alone isn’t enough to get a relative off of Windows 95, maybe this tool will be enough to convince them!

BrowserCheck supports most modern configurations on Windows 2000 and newer. There is also Mac OS X support should you need to scan on that platform. The scan is quite simple and easy to understand. A scan on a Windows 7 system using the Opera browser is shown in Figure A:

Figure A

Figure A

Click image to enlarge
On that same system, the scan is run in Microsoft Internet Explorer with a similar report. Figure B shows this report:

Figure B

Figure B

Click image to enlarge

BrowserCheck supports Internet Explorer, Opera, Firefox, Chrome, and Safari for Windows operating systems. The Camino browser is also available for Mac OS X. The full list of supported and beta configurations can be found at this link on the Qualys Communities site. What I like best about the tool is that in most situations the “Fix It” link takes the end user right to the resource to address the issue.

Do you find browser configuration the primary issue in supporting users outside of your organization? I see this tool as a great self-service tool, as it is easy to use. Give it a try and share your comments below.

About

Rick Vanover is a software strategy specialist for Veeam Software, based in Columbus, Ohio. Rick has years of IT experience and focuses on virtualization, Windows-based server administration, and system hardware.

17 comments
aduffy
aduffy

I ran the scan this a.m. on Win7 32bit. My browser version is 8.0.7600.16535 which errored because the scan tool expected to see 8.0.7600.525 as the latest version. My version is newer than the tools. Checked MS and my verions is the latest. BrowserScan is out of step. :(

santeewelding
santeewelding

So, I downloaded it this morning. Couldn't find it anywhere. No icon. No clue. Found it in Tools. But there was nothing to execute. Do I need to do it in conjunction with the site?

seanferd
seanferd

BBL. e1: Hm. Browser plugin. e2: Hmph. Not supported on my browser. Bite me. e3: Installed as plugin in FF 3.x. Allow, install, restart browser. Is enabled. Must go to website to start check. So, "yes".

santeewelding
santeewelding

Dumb, helpless, doesn't-know-shit-user here. Thank you. I suspected as much. Just that I have been too busy on TR juggling inconceivable events of the universe to get back to it. Or, should I give up on the inconceivable events and stay home? _______ Damn. Doesn't work when you bury it in hyphens. I'll find a way, yet.

Ocie3
Ocie3

in John's post with the mouse cursor and choose the Save Link As option from the context menu (Firefox 3.6.9), then the link can be stored on the desktop, among other locations, as the URL followed by the extension .HTM. But when I double-click on the resulting desktop shortcut, the page that Qualsys returns claims that I'm using an outdated version of I.E., although I'm running Firefox and it has their add-on installed. Dunno whether grabbing the hyperlink and dragging it to the desktop would produce a different outcome. I run all applications full-screen, and the only way to drag anything from one application to another is [i]via[/i] the Task Bar. I tried dragging the hyperlink to a vacant segment of the Task Bar, but the Task Bar doesn't reappear when the cursor reaches the bottom of the screen, and the cursor becomes a circle with a slanted line through it.

seanferd
seanferd

Or is this something to do with the definition of "desktop shortcut"? Not that I can see what prompted the original suggestion, mind you.

Ocie3
Ocie3

How do you create a "desktop shortcut to" a web site page? (Assume that Windows XP is the operating system of the computer.)

seanferd
seanferd

$#!+ ? Good old shite. But, I don't think that word means what you think it means. ;) This is an allusion, so YMMV. Easy enough for me to check. No worries. What you did was to increase my interest. :-bd

bkindle
bkindle

Secunia.com's PSI scanner 2.0 Beta is great, newest version supports automatic updating.

OldGuru
OldGuru

It offers the same service for [i]all[/i] the programs that it recognizes, not only browsers and their plugins, which include most programs installed on any computer.

The 'G-Man.'
The 'G-Man.'

What do I get in the deal?

b4real
b4real

Part of the deal means the burden we carry by being IT pros within our friends and family circles.