Menu
Zero day, Web browser vulnerabilities spike in 2014

Zero day, Web browser vulnerabilities spike in 2014

Secunia found that overall more than 83 per cent of vulnerabilities had patches ready when the flaws became public

The number of zero-day and Web browser vulnerabilities shot up in 2014, but overall software vendors are patching faster.

The data comes from Secunia, a Danish security vendor that releases an annual study of trends in software vulnerabilities, which are used by hackers to compromise computers.

Zero-day vulnerabilities -- which are software flaws actively being used by attackers when publicly disclosed -- rose from 14 in 2013 to 25 last year. Those type of flaws are among the most dangerous and prized by attackers since patches aren't available from vendors.

Flaws in Web browser software increased to 1035 in 2014, up from 728 the prior year, according to Secunia's report.

But the good news is that vendors are moving faster to fix flaws. Secunia found that over 83 percent of 15,435 vulnerabilities found in ,870 applications had a patch available when a flaw was publicly disclosed.

That's compared to 78.5 per cent in 2013 and much better than in 2009, when only 49.9 per cent of products had a ready patch.

"The most likely explanation is that researchers are continuing to coordinate their vulnerability reports with vendors and their vulnerability programs, resulting in immediate availability of patches for the majority of cases," according to the report.

But Secunia found that if a patch wasn't ready on the day a flaw was disclosed, it is likely that vendors weren't going to prioritize a fix. The percentage of products that had a patch ready a month after a flaw was disclosed only rose to 84.3 per cent.

Secunia also looked at PDF software, which is frequently targeted by hackers since nearly every computer has it installed.

Adobe Systems' PDF applications are among the most attacked on the Internet due to their prevalence. Secunia said Adobe's Reader program, which has a market share of 85 per cent, had 43 vulnerabilities last year.

In recent years, Adobe has undertaken an aggressive program to scan its application code for security problems and generate patches quickly when problems are found.

Secunia found that 32 percent of computers it surveyed with data from its Personal Software Inspector, which checks the version number of programs, did not have an up-to-date version of Adobe's Reader, putting users at risk.

The company also looked at vulnerabilities in open-source software, an increasing security concern after several serious vulnerabilities were found in the OpenSSL cryptographic software.

The first serious OpenSSL vulnerability, nicknamed Heartbleed, caught many off guard due to its potential impact and the wide variety of programs that use it. Secunia thought vendors might be quicker to patch OpenSSL after subsequent problems were found last year.

That wasn't the case, though. Many vendors did not patch faster for other OpenSSL flaws post-Heartbleed, the report said.

"Organizations should not presume to be able to predict which vendors are dependable and quick to react when vulnerabilities are discovered in products bundled with open-source libraries," Secunia said.

Send news tips and comments to jeremy_kirk@idg.com. Follow me on Twitter: @jeremy_kirk


Follow Us

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags secuniapatchesExploits / vulnerabilities

Featured

Slideshows

The making of an MSSP: a blueprint for growth in NZ

The making of an MSSP: a blueprint for growth in NZ

Partners are actively building out security practices and services to match, yet remain challenged by a lack of guidance in the market. This exclusive Reseller News Roundtable - in association with Sophos - assessed the making of an MSSP, outlining the blueprint for growth and how partners can differentiate in New Zealand.

The making of an MSSP: a blueprint for growth in NZ
Reseller News Platinum Club celebrates leading partners in 2018

Reseller News Platinum Club celebrates leading partners in 2018

The leading players of the New Zealand channel came together to celebrate a year of achievement at the inaugural Reseller News Platinum Club lunch in Auckland. Following the Reseller News Innovation Awards, Platinum Club provides a platform to showcase the top performing partners and start-ups of the past 12 months, with more than ​​50 organisations in the spotlight.​​​

Reseller News Platinum Club celebrates leading partners in 2018
Meet the top performing HP partners in NZ

Meet the top performing HP partners in NZ

HP has honoured its leading partners in New Zealand during 2018, following 12 months of growth through the local channel. Unveiled during the fourth running of the ceremony in Auckland, the awards recognise and celebrate excellence, growth, consistency and engagement of standout Kiwi partners.

Meet the top performing HP partners in NZ
Show Comments