Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Endpoint Security //

Windows

2/19/2018
09:35 AM
Larry Loeb
Larry Loeb
Larry Loeb
50%
50%

Microsoft Vulnerabilities More Than Doubled in 2017 Report

A comprehensive exam by security vendor Avecto found that the number of vulnerabilities in Microsoft's products increased from 234 to 685 between 2016 and 2017.

Avecto has done the entire security field a service by analyzing the data that Microsoft issued through the company's Security Update Guide throughout 2017.

Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT) uses the Security Update Guide to detail the security vulnerabilities that affect all the company's products and services. Avecto's report takes a look at the results over the 12 months of 2017 and details the trends that emerged during that time.

The increase in Microsoft vulnerabilities from 2016 to 2017 is the largest in the company's history. Last year, the report found 685 vulnerabilities in total, which was 234 more the 2016 total. This is more than double the 325 that were found in 2013.

In addition, the number of reported vulnerabilities has risen 111% during the five-year period from 2013 to 2017.

Remote code execution (RCE) vulnerabilities were the most numerous of the total 685 vulnerabilities that were found -- coming in at 301. There has been a 58% increase in RCE vulnerabilities since 2013.

When only critical vulnerabilities are considered, there has been a 54% increase since 2016 and 60% between 2013 and 2017.

Other classifications of vulnerabilities included information disclosure, elevation of privilege, denial of service, security feature bypass, spoofing and tampering.

However, 587 vulnerabilities were reported in 2017 across Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows RT, Windows 8/8.1 and Windows 10 operating systems. Avecto calls this a record high. The total is 232 vulnerabilities more than what it reported in 2016, as well as a 132% increase of the numbers that were reported five years ago.

The number of vulnerabilities in Windows 10 jumped 64% last year, and critical vulnerabilities in Microsoft browsers rose 46% since 2013. It may be argued that these sorts of increases should actually be expected, since new products such as Windows 10 will have increased security scrutiny and therefore more vulnerabilities identified.

The report also notes that vulnerabilities in Microsoft Office continued to see a year-on-year rise, hitting a record high of 87 in 2017. Since 2013, critical vulnerabilities have doubled, although these issues increased from six to 12.


The fundamentals of network security are being redefined – don't get left in the dark by a DDoS attack! Join us in Austin from May 14-16 at the fifth annual Big Communications Event. There's still time to register and communications service providers get in free!

What can be done about this is where the report shifts from useful data to a bit of a sales effort. Avecto sells user privilege management software. It also says in the report -- without presenting any direct evidence -- that removing local admin rights from most users would mitigate 80% of the critical vulnerabilities that were reported in 2017.

That does not mean the company may not be philosophically correct, however.

In the report Sami Laiho, a Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP), notes: "For years, most security fronts have recommended least privilege as the most needed security feature out there. From my point of view, it still is -- as it would have blocked 80% of vulnerabilities."

So, least privilege may be a very good idea to deal with the problems Microsoft is evidencing. But it is no magic bullet since even the report admits that 20% of the vulnerabilities would have caused harm even with it in place.

In any case, the report shows that the vulnerabilities associated with Microsoft products and services are rising to ever-higher levels.

Related posts:

— Larry Loeb has written for many of the last century's major "dead tree" computer magazines, having been, among other things, a consulting editor for BYTE magazine and senior editor for the launch of WebWeek.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Oldest First  |  Newest First  |  Threaded View
COVID-19: Latest Security News & Commentary
Dark Reading Staff 10/27/2020
Modern Day Insider Threat: Network Bugs That Are Stealing Your Data
David Pearson, Principal Threat Researcher,  10/21/2020
Are You One COVID-19 Test Away From a Cybersecurity Disaster?
Alan Brill, Senior Managing Director, Cyber Risk Practice, Kroll,  10/21/2020
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon
Current Issue
Special Report: Computing's New Normal
This special report examines how IT security organizations have adapted to the "new normal" of computing and what the long-term effects will be. Read it and get a unique set of perspectives on issues ranging from new threats & vulnerabilities as a result of remote working to how enterprise security strategy will be affected long term.
Flash Poll
How IT Security Organizations are Attacking the Cybersecurity Problem
How IT Security Organizations are Attacking the Cybersecurity Problem
The COVID-19 pandemic turned the world -- and enterprise computing -- on end. Here's a look at how cybersecurity teams are retrenching their defense strategies, rebuilding their teams, and selecting new technologies to stop the oncoming rise of online attacks.
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2020-27956
PUBLISHED: 2020-10-28
An Arbitrary File Upload in the Upload Image component in SourceCodester Car Rental Management System 1.0 allows the user to conduct remote code execution via admin/index.php?page=manage_car because .php files can be uploaded to admin/assets/uploads/ (under the web root).
CVE-2020-27957
PUBLISHED: 2020-10-28
The RandomGameUnit extension for MediaWiki through 1.35 was not properly escaping various title-related data. When certain varieties of games were created within MediaWiki, their names or titles could be manipulated to generate stored XSS within the RandomGameUnit extension.
CVE-2020-16140
PUBLISHED: 2020-10-27
The search functionality of the Greenmart theme 2.4.2 for WordPress is vulnerable to XSS.
CVE-2020-9982
PUBLISHED: 2020-10-27
This issue was addressed with improved checks to prevent unauthorized actions. This issue is fixed in Apple Music 3.4.0 for Android. A malicious application may be able to leak a user's credentials.
CVE-2020-3855
PUBLISHED: 2020-10-27
An access issue was addressed with improved access restrictions. This issue is fixed in macOS Catalina 10.15.3, Security Update 2020-001 Mojave, Security Update 2020-001 High Sierra. A malicious application may be able to overwrite arbitrary files.