PC users improve software patching yet challenges remain

UK PC users are making progress when it comes to patching software vulnerabilities, however big challenges still remain.

Flexera Software's UK Country Report for Q1 2016 highlights that private PCs with unpatched Microsoft Windows operating systems are on the decline. As of the end of Q1 2016, 6.1 percent of users had unpatched Windows operating systems, compared to 11.5 percent at the same time last year.

The average PC user in the UK has 73 programs installed from 25 different vendors. More than 30 of these programmes (42 percent) are Microsoft and the remaining 58 percent are from non-Microsoft vendors.

Almost two-thirds (61 percent) of UK private users haven't patched their Apple QuickTime 7.x software, the number one most exposed programme of Q1 2016 based on risk exposure. It is up from 55 percent in Q4 2015. Meanwhile, 41 percent of UK private users ran unpatched versions of Oracle Java JRE 1.8x/8.x during Q1 2016, a slight increase from 36 percent in Q4 2015.

“Criminals use vulnerabilities as attack vectors to illegally gain entry into systems. Companies and individuals can substantially reduce the likelihood of a successful attack by diligently applying vulnerability patches as soon as they become available,” said Kasper Lindgaard, director of Secunia Research at Flexera Software.

The report is based on data produced by Flexera Software scans from 1 January 2016 through 31 March 2016.