Flexera Software, the leading provider of next-generation software licensing, compliance, security and installation solutions for application producers and enterprises, today released the Vulnerability Review 2016, the annual report from Secunia Research at Flexera Software, which presents global data on the prevalence of vulnerabilities and the availability of patches, maps the security vulnerability threat to IT infrastructures, and also explores vulnerabilities in the 50 most popular applications on private PCs.
Vulnerabilities are a root cause of security issues -errors in software that can work as an entry point for hackers and be exploited to gain access to IT systems. In 2015, Secunia Research at Flexera Software recorded a total of 16,081 vulnerabilities in 2,484 products from 263 vendors. The breadth of the problem – 16,081 vulnerabilities across 2,484 vulnerable products – illustrates the challenge faced by IT teams trying to protect their environment against security breaches. For organizations to stay on top of their environments, IT teams must have complete visibility of the applications that are in use, and firm policies and procedures in place, in order to deal with the vulnerabilities as they are disclosed.
Drop in number of vulnerable products and number of vendors
The corresponding numbers for 2014 were 15,698 vulnerabilities in 3,907 products from 514 vendors.
“The substantial 36 percent drop in number of products and 49 percent drop in vendors primarily reflects an adjustment in focus from Secunia Research to only monitor the systems and applications in use in the environments of customers of Flexera Software’s Software Vulnerability Management product line. This change is caused by a continuous rise in the number of vulnerabilities reported in recent years, and we are currently seeing other research houses choosing similar strategies – CVE Mitre, for example,” explained Kasper Lindgaard, Director of Secunia Research at Flexera Software.
Patch Rates and Zero-day Vulnerabilities
Other findings in the Vulnerability Review 2016 confirm trends from previous years: at 25, the number of zero-day vulnerabilities was the same as in 2014; the split between vulnerabilities in Microsoft and non-Microsoft products in the 50 most popular applications on private PCs is at 21 percent and 79 percent. And most vulnerabilities – 84 percent – have a patch available on the day of disclosure. 30 days after the vulnerability was first disclosed, only one additional percent has a patch. Particularly for organizations with a vast array of endpoints to manage – including devices not regularly connected to corporate networks – this means that a variety of mitigating software vulnerability management efforts are required, to ensure sufficient protection.
Key findings from the Vulnerability Review 2016
Total Numbers across All Applications
- In 2015, Secunia Research at Flexera Software recorded a total of 16,081 vulnerabilities in 2,484 products from 263 vendors.
- 84 percent of vulnerabilities in all products had patches available on the day of disclosure in 2015.
- 25 zero-day vulnerabilities were discovered in total in 2015, the same number as the year before.
- 13.3 percent of the 16,081 vulnerabilities discovered in 2015 were rated as ‘Highly Critical’, and 0.5 percent as ‘Extremely Critical’.
- In 2015, 1,114 vulnerabilities were discovered in the five most popular browsers: Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Internet Explorer, Opera and Safari. That is a 4 percent increase from 2014.
- In 2015, 147 vulnerabilities were discovered in the five most popular PDF readers: Adobe Reader, Foxit Reader, PDF-XChange Viewer, Sumatra PDF and Nitro PDF Reader.
The 50 Most Popular Applications on Private PCs
- 2,048 vulnerabilities were discovered in 25 products in the Top 50 most popular applications on private PCs.
- 79 percent of vulnerabilities in the 50 most popular applications on private PCs in 2015 affected non-Microsoft applications, by far outnumbering the 7 percent of vulnerabilities found in the Windows 7 operating system or the 14 percent of vulnerabilities discovered in Microsoft applications.
- The 17 non-Microsoft applications only account for 33 percent of products but are responsible for 79 percent of the vulnerabilities discovered in the Top 50. Microsoft applications (including the Windows 7 operating system) account for 67 percent of the products in the Top 50, but were only responsible for 21 percent of the vulnerabilities.
- Over a five year period, the share of vulnerabilities in non-Microsoft applications hovers around 78 percent in the Top 50.
- The total number of vulnerabilities in the Top 50 most popular applications was 2,048 in 2015, showing a 77 percent increase in the five-year trend. Most of these were rated by Secunia Research at Flexera Software as either ‘Highly critical’ (62.8 percent) or ‘Extremely critical’ (8.6 percent).
- 85 percent of vulnerabilities in the Top 50 had patches available on the day of disclosure in 2015.
About the Vulnerability Review 2016
The annual Vulnerability Review from Secunia Research at Flexera Software analyzes the evolution of software security from a vulnerability perspective. It presents global data on the prevalence of vulnerabilities and the availability of patches, maps the security threats to IT infrastructures, and also explores vulnerabilities in the 50 most popular applications on private PCs.
Identifying the 50 most popular applications (the Top 50 portfolio):
To assess how exposed endpoints are, we analyze the types of products typically found on an endpoint. For this analysis we use anonymous data gathered from scans throughout 2015 of the millions of private computers which have Flexera Software’s Personal Software Inspector installed.
Personal Software Inspector users’ computers have an average of 79 programs installed on them – from country to country and region to region there are variations as to which applications are installed. For the sake of clarity, we have chosen to focus on the state of a representative portfolio of the 50 most common applications found on the computers. These 50 applications are comprised of 33 Microsoft applications and 17 non-Microsoft applications.