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Are you Creating a Backdoor into your System?

News   •   Mar 15, 2013 13:39 GMT

  • Third-Party apps doorway for hackers
  • 1,137 security flaws in fifty most popular Windows Programs
  • Microsoft praised for ongoing focus on security measures

We have all downloaded third party software to our home computers, laptops or mobile devices in the past. Most computers even come with it installed. Java, Firefox and Adobe Reader are all popular examples of third party applications that you may have installed on your system. But how many of us consider our system security when installing popular applications?

A new report published by IT security specialists Secunia reveals that of 2,755 vulnerabilities found in popular windows programs during 2012 86% came from code found in non-Microsoft products. The ratio becomes even more alarming when you take into account that Microsoft provided 29 of the 50 programs tested, including the Microsoft operating systems. It means you are around ten times more likely to have vulnerable code in a Windows product that has been created by a provider other than Microsoft.

Secunia praised Microsoft their continued diligence in improving security measures in its products and thereby reducing the share of software vulnerabilities.

Microsoft’s performance has improved since 2011, when 22% of the vulnerabilities found were located within Microsoft products.

The number of vulnerabilities tracked by Secunia continues to increase as they identify new potential faults each year and monitor how previous vulnerabilities have been addressed. The number of vulnerabilities has almost doubled over the last five years.

Secunia’s Director of product management said, “Companies cannot continue to ignore or underestimate non-Microsoft programs as the major source of vulnerabilities that threaten their IT infrastructure and overall IT-security level. The number of vulnerabilities is on the increase, but many organisations continue to turn a blind eye, thereby jeopardising their entire IT infrastructure: It only takes one vulnerability to expose a company.”

The number of vulnerabilities found in the 50 most popular Windows programs was 1,137 in 2012. Of these Secunia rated 78.8% as 'highly critical'. One bright note was the increase in vulnerabilities that had patches to correct them within 24 hours of disclosure, with the figure rising to 84% from 72% in 2011.

The UK IT Association (UKITA) has a number of members who are cyber security specialists, and they would advise that you ensure that you download your system security updates promptly.

More details on all these figures can be found in Secunia's Vulnerability Review 2013 report.

Connect with UKITA here.