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.

Perimeter

4/22/2009
03:59 PM
John H. Sawyer
John H. Sawyer
Commentary
50%
50%

Third-Party App Updates, Unite!

Unite, unite, UNITE! It's a great fight song being preached by Secunia at this week's RSA Conference. In "Secunia Pushes For Standard That Updates Consumer Apps," here on Dark Reading, Secunia's effort to unify patching was discussed with some interesting statistics from the recent Microsoft Incident Report. According to the report, 90 percent of vulnerabilities present on Windows system

Unite, unite, UNITE! It's a great fight song being preached by Secunia at this week's RSA Conference. In "Secunia Pushes For Standard That Updates Consumer Apps," here on Dark Reading, Secunia's effort to unify patching was discussed with some interesting statistics from the recent Microsoft Incident Report. According to the report, 90 percent of vulnerabilities present on Windows systems are in third-party apps.Holy hack-load of vulnerabilities, Batman! Is Microsoft the pot calling the kettle black, or is there something here that's newsworthy? I'm leaning toward the latter, having seen my fair share of student and family machines becoming owned by outdated software. A perfect example is the attacks against Adobe products during the past year. We saw Adobe Flash nailed by attackers last May, and a little more than a month ago, Acrobat was victim to a zero day that went unpatched for weeks.

Now I could be getting a little carried away here, but if Secunia could pull this off, it would be huge. But I think the major caveat to getting a unified updating tool to patch third-party apps isn't so much vendor buy-in as it is getting users to actually let the tool do the patching. Whenever I've assisted the Florida Free Culture group here on campus in its Free Your PC event, every machine I came across needed updates, whether it was Adobe Acrobat or Mozilla Firefox.

Even though some of the applications have built-in updaters, the users would ignore them and choose to install them later, which likely wouldn't happen until it was too late. Why is it that users ignore updates? I asked several students, and they said they didn't have time when the update dialog box popped up. Hilarious! If they only knew how long it took to back up their data and reinstall everything after getting infected with something really nasty...

Maybe Secunia will be able to get vendors to pull together and make a unified patching tool a reality. I sure hope so. At least their efforts will help raise awareness that update functionality in applications needs to be enhanced and super simple for users.

My question: Where does Secunia's plan fit into the enterprise? Is Secunia focused on something that will only help end users patch their machines (an effort that is futile if the user doesn't have admin rights, which is likely in a corporate network)? Or is it pushing to have vendors pull together to meet the needs of both enterprises and home environments? Let's hope it's both. This is definitely an effort to keep an eye on.

John H. Sawyer is a senior security engineer on the IT Security Team at the University of Florida. The views and opinions expressed in this blog are his own and do not represent the views and opinions of the UF IT Security Team or the University of Florida. When John's not fighting flaming, malware-infested machines or performing autopsies on blitzed boxes, he can usually be found hanging with his family, bouncing a baby on one knee and balancing a laptop on the other. Special to Dark Reading.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
News
Inside the Ransomware Campaigns Targeting Exchange Servers
Kelly Sheridan, Staff Editor, Dark Reading,  4/2/2021
Commentary
Beyond MITRE ATT&CK: The Case for a New Cyber Kill Chain
Rik Turner, Principal Analyst, Infrastructure Solutions, Omdia,  3/30/2021
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon
Current Issue
2021 Top Enterprise IT Trends
We've identified the key trends that are poised to impact the IT landscape in 2021. Find out why they're important and how they will affect you today!
Flash Poll
How Enterprises are Developing Secure Applications
How Enterprises are Developing Secure Applications
Recent breaches of third-party apps are driving many organizations to think harder about the security of their off-the-shelf software as they continue to move left in secure software development practices.
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2021-21392
PUBLISHED: 2021-04-12
Synapse is a Matrix reference homeserver written in python (pypi package matrix-synapse). Matrix is an ecosystem for open federated Instant Messaging and VoIP. In Synapse before version 1.28.0 requests to user provided domains were not restricted to external IP addresses when transitional IPv6 addre...
CVE-2021-21393
PUBLISHED: 2021-04-12
Synapse is a Matrix reference homeserver written in python (pypi package matrix-synapse). Matrix is an ecosystem for open federated Instant Messaging and VoIP. In Synapse before version 1.28.0 Synapse is missing input validation of some parameters on the endpoints used to confirm third-party identif...
CVE-2021-29429
PUBLISHED: 2021-04-12
In Gradle before version 7.0, files created with open permissions in the system temporary directory can allow an attacker to access information downloaded by Gradle. Some builds could be vulnerable to a local information disclosure. Remote files accessed through TextResourceFactory are downloaded in...
CVE-2021-21394
PUBLISHED: 2021-04-12
Synapse is a Matrix reference homeserver written in python (pypi package matrix-synapse). Matrix is an ecosystem for open federated Instant Messaging and VoIP. In Synapse before version 1.28.0 Synapse is missing input validation of some parameters on the endpoints used to confirm third-party identif...
CVE-2021-22497
PUBLISHED: 2021-04-12
Advanced Authentication versions prior to 6.3 SP4 have a potential broken authentication due to improper session management issue.