The percentage of unpatched Windows operating systems was on the decline in the second quarter of 2016, leading to an overall decrease in the number of exploitable Windows vulnerabilities.


However, the Q2 Country Report for the UK from Secunia Research at Flexera Software discovered that the percentage of private UK PC users with unpatched non-Microsoft programs is on the rise, meaning users still face exposure to hacker exploits.


In Q2 2016, 5.4 percent of UK users had unpatched Windows operating systems, down from 6.1 percent in Q1 2016 and 10.3 percent in Q2 2015.


“The decline in unpatched Windows operating systems is remarkable and encouraging. It will be interesting to see if this trend continues over the long run, especially as Windows 10 and its automated updates become more widely deployed,” said Kasper Lindgaard, director of Secunia Research at Flexera Software.


Meanwhile, 12.6 percent of users had unpatched non-Microsoft programmes in Q2 2016, up from 11.9 percent in Q1 2016 and 1.3 percent in Q2 2015.


“If users install software but then ignore alerts and fail to initiate the patch process when a vulnerability is found, they will remain exposed to that vulnerability,” said Lindgaard.


The three most exposed programs for Q2 2016 were VLC Media Player 2.x (55 percent unpatched, 36 percent market share and eight vulnerabilities), Oracle Java JRE 1.8x/8.x (47 percent unpatched, 39 percent market share, 67 vulnerabilities), and Adobe Reader XI 11.x (62 percent unpatched, 20 percent market share, 215 vulnerabilities).


“The number of vulnerabilities just in the top three products underscores the vastness of the opportunity for hackers to gain entry into exposed systems,” said Lindgaard.