Press Release

16.3% of Programs Left Unpatched Come From Non-Microsoft Vendors

Dubai, United Arab Emirates - Nov 2, 2014 - Secunia, the leading provider of IT security solutions that enable businesses and private individuals to manage and control vulnerability threats, recently published the Personal Software Inspector (PSI) Country Report for Saudi Arabia for the third quarter of 2014. The report reveals that the average PC user in Saudi Arabia has 85 programs installed from 30 different vendors and that 25.4% of users have unpatched operating systems. While cyber security makes up one of the fastest markets globally and the Middle Eastern market is valued to be worth several multi-billion over the following decade, cybercrimes continue to breed in complexity and frequency. This translates into more vulnerability windows for exploitation that hackers can use to access critical personal data.

According to Secunia's report, Microsoft programs represent 39% of the overall share of programs installed on Saudi PCs, while the remaining 61% come from third-party vendors. The security of a PC is largely controlled by the number and type of programs installed on it and to what extent these programs are patched. On the average PC, 16.3% of third-party programs are unpatched compared to 5.8% for Microsoft programs. Whilst there is a single update mechanism for the 33 Microsoft programs, 29 different update mechanisms are required to patch the remaining 52 programs from the 29 third-party vendors.

The Secunia KSA report ranked the Top 10 programs based on risk exposure - these programs were ranked based on 2 parameters: the percentage market share multiplied by the percentage of unpatched. It was discovered that Oracle Java JRE 1.7.x/7.x was at the top of the list. The Secunia KSA report also released the top 10 'End-of-life' (EOL) Programs based on market share. The Microsoft XML Core Services 4 is found to be number one on the list with 76% market share. "It is always recommended to remove End-of-Life programs from your PC as they are no longer maintained and supported by the vendor and do not receive security updates. They must therefore be treated as insecure. If you identify and remove End-of-Life programs you have made your PC a great deal more secure," said Kasper Lindgaard, Director of Research and Security at Secunia.

"It only takes one vulnerability for a hacker to exploit a user’s system. Just one. We are concerned to see such a high share of users with unpatched and End-of-Life browsers and operating systems," Kasper added.

Vulnerabilities are discovered in software programs on a regular basis, and the vendor will usually release a patch for users to apply in the form of a security update. However, the latest findings from Secunia suggest that there is a significant increase in the number of programs that are no longer patched by the vendor. If users do not perform these updates, their PC will be vulnerable to attacks because hackers can use the vulnerability as an entry point. The best way for private users to stay secure is to make sure the software on their PCs is always updated with the latest software security updates. The Secunia PSI Country Report for Saudi Arabia data reflects the state of Secunia PSI users and shows that Secunia PSI users are more secure than other PC users.

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