Vulnerabilities / Threats
8/23/2013
05:39 PM
Connect Directly
Google+
Twitter
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

Nearly One-Fifth Of Enterprise Operating Systems Not Fully Patched

Less than half of organizations run malicious code execution prevention tools, Rapid7 survey finds

One in five IT professionals say they either have not fully patched their organizations' endpoint operating systems -- or they aren't sure whether the machines are up-to-date.

A fully patched operating system is the "minimum bar" for any organization, says Matt Hathaway, senior product manager with Rapid7, which today released results of a survey of 600 IT pros on their enterprises' endpoint security practices. Some 83 percent say their endpoint OSes are fully patched.

"Seventeen percent [with unpatched OSes] is unsettling as we really consider patching your OS to be the minimum bar for an organization's patching process," Hathaway says. "Our assumption is that this can be explained by the challenge of getting broad organizational buy-in for a consistent patching process and a disconnect between the security and IT teams. In some cases, availability is prioritized over patching: for example in the healthcare sector, where treatment is 24/7."

Another red flag from the survey: Fifty-four percent don't or don't know whether they run code execution prevention tools on their machines (think Microsoft's Enhanced Mitigation Experience Toolkit). Of that group, 30 percent don't run these tools, and 24 percent don't know if they do.

Even though Microsoft regularly mentions EMET in its security blog, security pros still don't seem to be in the know much about it or its benefits, Hathaway says. "Additionally, a lot of our customers have stated that they never bothered implementing [EMET] 3.5 tech preview or the 4.0 beta because they were waiting for a final release. So the long lull may very well explain why our survey results show that EMET is not broadly used only a few months after the 4.0 final release."

The good news is that 96 percent of organizations run antivirus on their endpoints, and 90 percent say their email systems are configured to block suspicious attachments. That means a large number of businesses are employing tools to stop malware from hitting their endpoints, Hathaway says.

Around 16 percent don't require their users to select complex passwords that expire at regular intervals, and 2 percent don't know whether their organizations have this policy. "The fact that only 81 percent of respondents enforce complex, expiring passwords makes us question whether the industry debate over the effectiveness of passwords is being misconstrued to mean they are a waste of time," Rapid7's Hathaway says.

The full Rapid7 endpoint security survey is available here (PDF) for download.

Have a comment on this story? Please click "Add Your Comment" below. If you'd like to contact Dark Reading's editors directly, send us a message.

Kelly Jackson Higgins is Executive Editor at DarkReading.com. She is an award-winning veteran technology and business journalist with more than two decades of experience in reporting and editing for various publications, including Network Computing, Secure Enterprise ... View Full Bio

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
plutoisgone
50%
50%
plutoisgone,
User Rank: Apprentice
8/28/2013 | 3:00:35 PM
re: Nearly One-Fifth Of Enterprise Operating Systems Not Fully Patched
I am surprised of the high number of people who say they are patched. I
believe some are not telling the whole truth because another recent
study by a MUCH larger and more trusted organization said that over 50%
of their studied results found organizations were still using the JAVA
release from over a year ago (which has known toolkits). And we all know that JAVA and Adobe are the nemesis of our lives. Maybe this study should be done by an "independent" firm.
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Cartoon
Current Issue
Flash Poll
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2014-2130
Published: 2015-03-05
Cisco Secure Access Control Server (ACS) provides an unintentional administration web interface based on Apache Tomcat, which allows remote authenticated users to modify application files and configuration files, and consequently execute arbitrary code, by leveraging administrative privileges, aka B...

CVE-2014-9688
Published: 2015-03-05
Unspecified vulnerability in the Ninja Forms plugin before 2.8.10 for WordPress has unknown impact and remote attack vectors related to admin users.

CVE-2015-0598
Published: 2015-03-05
The RADIUS implementation in Cisco IOS and IOS XE allows remote attackers to cause a denial of service (device reload) via crafted IPv6 Attributes in Access-Accept packets, aka Bug IDs CSCur84322 and CSCur27693.

CVE-2015-0607
Published: 2015-03-05
The Authentication Proxy feature in Cisco IOS does not properly handle invalid AAA return codes from RADIUS and TACACS+ servers, which allows remote attackers to bypass authentication in opportunistic circumstances via a connection attempt that triggers an invalid code, as demonstrated by a connecti...

CVE-2015-0657
Published: 2015-03-05
Cisco IOS XR allows remote attackers to cause a denial of service (RSVP process reload) via a malformed RSVP packet, aka Bug ID CSCur69192.

Dark Reading Radio
Archived Dark Reading Radio
How can security professionals better engage with their peers, both in person and online? In this Dark Reading Radio show, we will talk to leaders at some of the security industry’s professional organizations about how security pros can get more involved – with their colleagues in the same industry, with their peers in other industries, and with the IT security community as a whole.