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Windows Vulnerabilities Jump 50%+ in 2015

Proving the worth of the old standby, the number of reported Windows vulnerabilities in 2015 increased by 52% year-on-year.

Research from security software company Avecto shows that a total of 524 vulnerabilities were reported last year, with 48% (251) given a critical severity rating.

Even though mobile, cloud and Apple make for bigger headlines when it comes to bugs, Windows should still be where it’s at as far as attack surfaces go. Following an analysis of Microsoft security bulletins, Avecto discovered that Microsoft Office products were the subject of 62 of these vulnerabilities, an increase of 210% since 2014. Of these, 16 were classed as critical, meaning that all businesses using the software were potentially vulnerable to attack.

The report also noted that combined with the fact that both Microsoft and Symantec discovered 250,000 new malware samples every day during the same period, it’s easy to see the size and scale of the problem organizations now face.

“Given the current state of the security landscape, it’s no surprise that the number of vulnerabilities increases every year, but a large proportion of the business community still remain ignorant to the most effective measures that should be taken in mitigating the risk associated with these vulnerabilities,” said Mark Austin, co-founder and co-CEO at Avecto.

Avecto also found that 27% of the critical vulnerabilities reported last year affected Windows 10, the latest version of the OS.

 “It’s important that companies remain discerning and don’t just assume that certain platforms are inherently secure because they are popular or new,” Austin continued. “Even the most widespread and up-to-date software can still contain loopholes and all too often it takes weeks or months to rollout a patch. It’s not just Microsoft either, we’ve seen a significant spike in Mac vulnerabilities too.”

Importantly, the risk associated with 82% of critical vulnerabilities affecting Windows 10 and 85% of all the critical vulnerabilities reported in 2015 could be mitigated by removing admin rights from users.

He added, “From a hacker’s perspective, getting access to admin rights is like an open door into the corporate network,” said Sami Laiho, Windows security expert and Microsoft MVP. “By having unrestricted admin rights you are essentially inviting malware into your organization. By removing those rights you are closing that door and locking it, stopping unwanted intruders in their tracks.”

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