A whopping 81 per cent of businesses run outdated Java while two in five (40 per cent) have not updated Flash, according to the latest figures from net security firm Websense.
Websense warns that failing to apply patches that address vulnerabilities in hacker favourites such as Flash and Java leaves these business at risk of targeted attacks that lead to the theft of business secrets.
Only 19 per cent of enterprise Windows-based computers ran the latest version of Java (7u25) between 1 and 29 August, 2013, the security firm said. Unbelievably, more than 40 per cent of enterprise Java requests are from browsers were still using outdated Java 6.
Java add-ons in the browser are a well-known hacker target and security firms have routinely advised businesses to disable the technology, which is rarely needed to use most websites. Despite this advice, Websense discovered that 83.86 per cent of enterprise browsers have Java enabled.
Don't dismiss that Adobe update...
Adobe applications such as Reader and Flash are another cyber-espionage favourite. Websense discovered that nearly 40 per cent of users are not running the most up-to-date versions of Flash. Nearly 25 per cent of Flash installations are more than six months old, close to 20 per cent are one year outdated and nearly 11 per cent are nearly two years old, according to stats from the web security firm.
Previous research by Websense back in March indicated that 93 per cent of enterprises were vulnerable to known Java exploits and nearly 50 per cent of enterprise traffic is using a version of Java that is more than two years out of date. So as bad as the state of enterprise Java security currently is things have arguably improved.
Carl Leonard, senior security research manager EMEA at Websense, commented: "Java has become a primary gateway for hackers to enter today’s businesses and its vulnerabilities are being commoditised in the latest exploit kits.
"Research using our Websense ThreatSeeker Intelligence Cloud indicates that successful Java exploits are on the rise with computers running outdated versions of Java…. [and] only 19 percent of enterprise Windows-based computers ran the latest version of Java.
"It is clear the cybercriminals know there is a Java update challenge for many organisations and thus they focus on exploits targeting both new and older versions of the technology," he added. ®