Has your computer been exploited? Find out now!

The day is finally almost over and all you want to do is tune out, lie on your couch, check Facebook and maybe watch a funny cat video on YouTube. With your laptop in hand, you open up your browser a...
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Has your computer been exploited? Find out now!

by News_Editor on May 28th, 2015 in Industry and Security News.

The day is finally almost over and all you want to do is tune out, lie on your couch, check Facebook and maybe watch a funny cat video on YouTube. With your laptop in hand, you open up your browser and find your plans are rudely interrupted by a notification asking you to update Internet Explorer. So like most people, you follow the prompts, execute an update and continue on about your business. 

What you may not have known is that the update you’ve just installed, most probably saved your browser from being exploited by cyber criminals and malware. 

As technology evolves, so do the tools and level of sophistication cyber criminals use for the development and distribution of malware. However, regardless of the technological advancement made over the past decade one constant remains true, the easier it is to attack a widespread software, the higher the likeliness that it will be exploited.

In 2014 the National Vulnerability Database recorded an average of 19 new software vulnerabilities EVERY SINGLE DAY! That’s a 40% increase from the year before. Over 80% of all reported vulnerabilities were distributed through third party applications.

The severity, rate of development and sheer volume of these exploits are so significant, that security companies are left scrambling to secure their products by constantly releasing patches and updates. On the other hand, cyber criminals tirelessly work to identify and exploit the weakest links in the chain creating a perpetual game of cat and mouse.

Aside from the obvious motive of financial gain, targeting and exploiting popular software has the added benefits of opening up the door to vast networks of users while making the installation of malware even harder to detect.

Knowing which applications have the highest amount of reported vulnerabilities will help you minimize the risks as well as understand the software most in need of frequent or critical updates. 

To help you identify these ‘high risk’ applications, we’ve listed the software with the highest reported vulnerabilities of 2014 using the data collected from the National Vulnerability Database:

1) Internet Explorer:

In 2014 Microsoft’s browser, Internet Explorer, took the top spot for reported vulnerabilities. A total of 242 were reported, among them, 220 were rated as high severity, 22 as medium severity and 0 as low. 

2) Google Chrome:

124 vulnerabilities were reported for Google Chrome last year, 86 of them rated as high severity, 38 as medium severity and 0 at low. 

3) Mozilla Firefox: 

Mozilla Firefox saw 117 total reported vulnerabilities among which 57 were rated as high severity, 57 as medium severity and 3 as low severity.

4) Adobe Flash Player 

76 total vulnerabilities were reported in Adobe Flash player last year. 65 of them were ranked as high severity and 11 as medium severity. 

5) Oracle Java: 

Oracle’s Java (known for it’s infamous updates) is sitting pretty at the bottom of the pack with 104 total vulnerabilities. 50 of them rated as high severity, 46 medium and 8 as low.

Despite the challenge from Adobe and Java programs, web browsers remain at the top of the list with the most reported vulnerabilities. This has remained unchanged for the last 6 years and is a testament to how easily browsers can be exploited and used to spread malware. 

In light of all this information, you’re probably thinking, “How can I protect myself against these threats?” 

Ensuring your system’s stability, security and ongoing functionality isn’t difficult. Remaining vigilant, installing a reputable antimalware program and keeping your operating system and software completely up-to-date are all very important steps to take.

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