Home / News

To our readers: Does your company offer DNS or DNS Security services? CircleID has an opening for an exclusive sponsor for our DNS topic. Gain unparalleled results with our deep market integration. Get in touch: [email protected]

Major Organizations Overlooking High Priority Security Risks, Too Much Focus on OS

According to a new security report released today by SANS Institute, TippingPoint and Qualys, the number of vulnerabilities found in applications in the last few years is far greater than the number of vulnerabilities discovered in operating systems. “On average, major organizations take at least twice as long to patch client-side vulnerabilities as they take to patch operating system vulnerabilities. In other words the highest priority risk is getting less attention than the lower priority risk.”

Main findings in the report include:

  • Unpatched popular client-side applications put businesses at risk for data theft: PC applications often remain unpatched, compromising these machines to be used to propagate attacks and compromise internal computers. This leaves a window open for hackers to steal critical data, impact network performance and affect business continuity. Examples of these applications include Adobe Acrobat Reader, Microsoft Office and Apple QuickTime.
  • The number of Web application attacks is increasing, elevating the threat posed by previously trusted Web sites: Web applications comprise more than 60 percent of the total attack attempts occurring on the Internet. These vulnerabilities are being exploited widely to convert trusted Web sites into malicious servers serving client-side exploits.
  • Operating system vulnerabilities are decreasing, but still pose a significant threat to an organization’s security resources: Operating systems (OS) have a lower number of vulnerabilities that can be remotely exploited to become massive Internet worms. The Conficker/Downadup is the exception and represents a major hole in many organizations’ security strategy. Attacks on Microsoft OS were dominated by Conficker/Downadup worm variants. For the past six months, over 90 percent of the attacks recorded for Microsoft targeted the buffer overflow vulnerability described in the Microsoft Security Bulletin MS08-067.
  • A growing number of vulnerability researchers is causing a backlog of unpatched software and a greater risk that these will be exploited. The number of people discovering zero day vulnerabilities is growing fast, yielding a growing number of vulnerabilities that remain unpatched—some for as long as two years. This lag time in patching increases the chance of hackers creating exploits targeting those vulnerabilities.

The full report can be downloaded from SANS website at http://www.sans.org/top-cyber-security-risks/.

By CircleID Reporter

CircleID’s internal staff reporting on news tips and developing stories. Do you have information the professional Internet community should be aware of? Contact us.

Visit Page

Filed Under

CircleID Newsletter The Weekly Wrap

More and more professionals are choosing to publish critical posts on CircleID from all corners of the Internet industry. If you find it hard to keep up daily, consider subscribing to our weekly digest. We will provide you a convenient summary report once a week sent directly to your inbox. It's a quick and easy read.

I make a point of reading CircleID. There is no getting around the utility of knowing what thoughtful people are thinking and saying about our industry.

Co-designer of the TCP/IP Protocols & the Architecture of the Internet


Comment Title:

  Notify me of follow-up comments

We encourage you to post comments and engage in discussions that advance this post through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can report it using the link at the end of each comment. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of CircleID. For more information on our comment policy, see Codes of Conduct.



Threat Intelligence

Sponsored byWhoisXML API

Brand Protection

Sponsored byCSC

Domain Names

Sponsored byVerisign


Sponsored byVerisign

IPv4 Markets

Sponsored byIPv4.Global