AOL plans to release on Thursday a free application that checks the security software and settings of PCs and home networks and lets users know about vulnerabilities it detects.To download the free diagnostic tool, called Active Security Monitor, users click here or\u00a0visit software download sites such as Download.com. Users don\u2019t need to be AOL subscribers to download the application.If the tool is installed on a PC that belongs to a home network, the tool can also check the network\u2019s security configuration and report its findings to the user.If all PCs on a home network are outfitted with Active Security Monitor, the application is also able to provide a comprehensive snapshot of the general security status of every PC and the network in a single dashboard-type interface."This application is designed to give users a good, independent assessment of their overall security situation," said John McKinley, president of AOL Digital Services.The tool is designed to help users keep their security applications updated and their system\u2019s security settings properly configured, he said. This is increasingly complicated, because users have to keep track of a growing variety of security applications, including antivirus software, security patches, spyware catchers and firewalls. "You\u2019re only as strong as your weakest link," he said.By default, the application does a security survey once every day, but users can modify this to run more often, he said. AOL had been beta testing Active Security Monitor since mid-May. The version that is available currently is a beta version. A final version will be available on Thursday.-Juan Carlos Perez, IDG News ServiceCheck out our CIO News Alerts and Tech Informer pages for more updated news coverage.