Who's riddling Windows PCs with gaping holes? It's your crApps

New study: Microsoft slashes bugs, Java and Adobe bring up the rear


Nearly nine out of ten security vulnerabilities in Windows computers last year were the fault of popular third-party applications, as opposed to Microsoft's own software.

That's according to security biz Secunia, which analysed flaws found in the most-used 50 Windows programs - 29 from Microsoft (including its operating system family) and 21 from third-party developers.

In 2012, 86 per cent of 2,755 vulnerabilities identified by Secunia's study were found in code developed outside of Microsoft; that's up 8 percentage points on 2011's 78 per cent, we're told. In 2007, the figure was just 57 per cent.

Secunia credited Microsoft for its continued focus on shoring up security measures in its products, and reducing its share of the software vulnerabilities on its Windows platform. The Danish biz added that sysadmins must not forget to roll out updates for all installed code rather than just Microsoft's and the few "usual suspects from other vendors".

Last year, according to Secunia, 5.5 per cent of the vulnerabilities found were present in Windows XP, Vista and Windows 7 operating systems and 8.5 per cent were in Microsoft's user-land programs. In 2011, the numbers were 78 per cent in non-Microsoft code, 10 per cent in Windows OSes and 12 per cent in Microsoft applications.

The number of vulnerabilities tracked by Secunia continues to increase, almost doubling over the last five years. Adobe Flash Player, Adobe Reader and Oracle's Java runtime engine are among the third-party applications included in Secunia's study.

“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,” said Morten R. Stengaard, Secunia’s director of product management.

The total number of vulnerabilities in the top-50 most popular Windows programs was 1,137 in 2012. Most of these were rated by Secunia as either highly critical (78.8 per cent) or extremely critical (5.3 per cent). Despite the hype about zero-day exploits, 84 per cent of vulnerabilities had a patch available on the day they were disclosed, up from 72 per cent in 2011.

More details on all these figures and more than be found in Secunia's Vulnerability Review 2013 report. The biz collected the figures from anonymised data gathered from system scans by the millions of users of Secunia's patch management software, Personal Software Inspector. ®

Similar topics

Broader topics


Other stories you might like

  • DigitalOcean sets sail for serverless seas with Functions feature
    Might be something for those who find AWS, Azure, GCP overly complex

    DigitalOcean dipped its toes in the serverless seas Tuesday with the launch of a Functions service it's positioning as a developer-friendly alternative to Amazon Web Services Lambda, Microsoft Azure Functions, and Google Cloud Functions.

    The platform enables developers to deploy blocks or snippets of code without concern for the underlying infrastructure, hence the name serverless. However, according to DigitalOcean Chief Product Officer Gabe Monroy, most serverless platforms are challenging to use and require developers to rewrite their apps for the new architecture. The ultimate goal being to structure, or restructure, an application into bits of code that only run when events occur, without having to provision servers and stand up and leave running a full stack.

    "Competing solutions are not doing a great job at meeting developers where they are with workloads that are already running today," Monroy told The Register.

    Continue reading
  • Patch now: Zoom chat messages can infect PCs, Macs, phones with malware
    Google Project Zero blows lid off bug involving that old chestnut: XML parsing

    Zoom has fixed a security flaw in its video-conferencing software that a miscreant could exploit with chat messages to potentially execute malicious code on a victim's device.

    The bug, tracked as CVE-2022-22787, received a CVSS severity score of 5.9 out of 10, making it a medium-severity vulnerability. It affects Zoom Client for Meetings running on Android, iOS, Linux, macOS and Windows systems before version 5.10.0, and users should download the latest version of the software to protect against this arbitrary remote-code-execution vulnerability.

    The upshot is that someone who can send you chat messages could cause your vulnerable Zoom client app to install malicious code, such as malware and spyware, from an arbitrary server. Exploiting this is a bit involved, so crooks may not jump on it, but you should still update your app.

    Continue reading
  • Google says it would release its photorealistic DALL-E 2 rival – but this AI is too prejudiced for you to use
    It has this weird habit of drawing stereotyped White people, team admit

    DALL·E 2 may have to cede its throne as the most impressive image-generating AI to Google, which has revealed its own text-to-image model called Imagen.

    Like OpenAI's DALL·E 2, Google's system outputs images of stuff based on written prompts from users. Ask it for a vulture flying off with a laptop in its claws and you'll perhaps get just that, all generated on the fly.

    A quick glance at Imagen's website shows off some of the pictures it's created (and Google has carefully curated), such as a blue jay perched on a pile of macarons, a robot couple enjoying wine in front of the Eiffel Tower, or Imagen's own name sprouting from a book. According to the team, "human raters exceedingly prefer Imagen over all other models in both image-text alignment and image fidelity," but they would say that, wouldn't they.

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022