Secunia Quarterly Country Report: Vulnerable PDF Readers are Primary Cause of Risk Exposure on UK PCs

Copenhagen, Denmark - Jul 29, 2015 - Secunia, a global supplier of Software Vulnerability Management products and services, today published its quarterly country report for the UK. The data shows that PDF readers continue to be a security issue for PC users; that 10.3% of PC users in the UK have an unpatched Windows operating system, and Oracle Java yet again tops the list of applications causing the greatest risk exposure to UK PCs.

The UK country report documents the state of security among PC users, based on data from scans by the Secunia Personal Software Inspector (PSI), during Q2 of 2015. The vulnerability of a PC is significantly affected by the number and type of applications installed on it, and the extent to which these programs are regularly patched.

Key findings in the UK report include:

  • Adobe Reader versions 10 and 11 come in at number four and five on the Most Exposed List: Adobe Reader 10 with a 21% market share had 60 vulnerabilities and was unpatched on 58% of PCs; Adobe Reader 11 with a 53% market share also had 60 vulnerabilities and was unpatched on 17% of PCs.
  • Oracle’s Java JRE 7 is in first place as the highest risk exposed application on PCs in the UK. With a market share of 36% and with 78 known vulnerabilities, it is a startling discovery to find that 82% of PC users are not installing the latest patch updates.
  • 1 in 20 programs on the average UK PC have reached end-of-life, meaning they are no longer supported by the vendor and do not receive security updates. The list of programs includes Adobe Flash Player 17, which is still installed on 80% of UK PCs.
  • Other applications in the top 10 of most exposed programs include Apple QuickTime, Microsoft Internet Explorer and uTorrent for Windows. 

Kasper Lindgaard, Director of Research and Security at Secunia, comments on the findings in the latest report:  

“PDF readers remain one of the world’s most popular targets for hackers so it is concerning that we are still seeing 75% of PCs that have Adobe Reader 10 or 11 installed are unpatched.    There are steps that PC users can take to defend themselves, and any system they are connected to, against known exploits. By upgrading to the latest version of the program and by applying priority patches in a timely manner, PC users can make great strides towards minimising their exposure to security risks.”

In 2014, 87% of vulnerabilities in the 50 most popular applications on private PCs had patches available on the day of disclosure. This demonstrates that it is possible for users to quickly protect their PCs against the majority of the 1,348 vulnerabilities that were discovered in the Top 50 applications throughout the year, as soon as they became publically known. 

To automate the process of updating applications, Secunia recommends users download its free Secunia PSI security tool, which has already been downloaded by more than 8 million private individuals globally to detect vulnerable programs and plug-ins.

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