Press Release

17.2% of KSA Users Have Unpatched Operating Systems

Dubai, United Arab Emirates - Jan 20, 2015 - 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 last quarter of 2014. This report documents the state of security among PC users in Saudi Arabia, based on data from scans by the Secunia Personal Software Inspector, in Q4 2014. The report reveals that the average PC user in Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) has 84 programs installed from 30 different vendors and that 17.2% of users have unpatched operating systems. Digital criminals are aware that most private users consider regular security maintenance of their PC hard work. As a result, a lot of users have PCs that are inadequately patched and therefore easily compromised. Although cyber security is one of the fastest growing markets globally, cybercrimes continue to grow more intricate and frequent. These complex cybercrimes open opportunities that hackers can exploit to gain access to vital personal data. 

According to Secunia’s report, Microsoft programs represent 41% of the overall share of programs installed on private Saudi PCs, while the remaining 59% 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, 17.1% of third-party programs are unpatched compared to 5.5% for Microsoft programs. There is a single update mechanism for the 34 Microsoft programs that make up 41% of the programs on the PC. Whereas, 29 different update mechanisms are required to patch the remaining 50 programs (59%) from the 29 so called third-party.

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 VLC Media Player 2.x was at the top of the list, with Oracle Java JRE 1.7.x / 7.x close behind. 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 first on the list with 76% market share. “The vulnerability landscape is dynamic, despite a few vendors that almost always report vulnerabilities within their products on a fixed schedule. The fact that widespread products such as Internet Explorer and .NET Framework listed in the Top 10 of the ”Most Exposed” list is no big surprise. When applications have a market share in the top quartile it only takes a small set of unpatched instances before it appears on the list. .NET is an essential framework required by many different applications. It receives updates through Windows Update and has its vulnerabilities disclosed via Microsoft’s normal Patch Tuesday cycle,” said Kasper Lindgaard, Director of Research and Security at Secunia.

Vulnerabilities are exposed in software programs recurrently, thus generally requiring vendors to release a patch for users that can be applied in the form of a security update. If a vulnerable program is left unpatched on a user’s PC, the PC will be prone to attacks by hackers as vulnerabilities are an access point. The most efficient way for users to stay secure is to ensure that their PCs are up to date with the latest software security updates. The Secunia PSI Country Report for Saudi Arabia data reflects the state of Secunia PSI users who can generally be assumes to be more secure than other PC users. 

Note to Editors

Methodology

The Secunia Country Reports show on average how much vulnerable software is present on private PCs and list those programs that make PCs more exposed to cybercrime. Secunia releases quarterly country reports which provide insight into software security on private PCs in a number of countries including Saudi Arabia. The reports are based on data from the millions of users of Secunia’s free consumer security software, the PSI. The data includes the average numbers of installed programs, patched and unpatched, on private PCs and information on the 10 most exposed programs, the number of programs installed on PCs, the share of Microsoft and non-Microsoft (third-party) programs and the prevalence of End-of-life programs.

About Secunia Personal Software Inspector

The Secunia Personal Software Inspector (PSI) is a free computer security solution for private users that identifies vulnerabilities in non-Microsoft (third-party programs) which can leave the PC open to attacks. Simply put, it scans the software on the system and identifies programs in need of security updates to safeguard the PC against cybercriminals. It then supplies the computer with the necessary software security updates to keep it safe. The Secunia PSI is also available in Arabic for free download. For more information on the Secunia PSI, please click here

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