Secunia Survey Finds 98% of PCs Have Vulnerable Program


Brian Prince

Secunia reports that it surveyed 20,000 users of its security scanning product, Secunia Personal Software Inspector, and found a startling number of Windows PCs running unpatched versions of at least one program. According to the security company, more than 45 percent of surveyed users' computers are running 11 or more insecure applications.

A new report from Secunia serves as a reminder for users to patch their systems.

According to data gathered from 20,000 users of Secunia PSI (Personal Software Inspector) 1.0 during the past seven days, roughly 98 percent were running unpatched programs. Roughly 30 percent had one to five insecure programs running on their Windows PCs; 25 percent had six to 10. The rest—about 45 percent—had 11 or more out-of-date programs.

Secunia PSI works by scanning Windows systems for installed applications and checking to see if the most current versions of those applications are installed. If not, the program makes a note and then provides a link to the updated version.

The most recent numbers are actually worse than when Secunia conducted the same survey nearly a year ago. In January, the vendor reported that roughly 95 percent of the about 20,000 PCs it included in the survey were running at least one unpatched program.

The good news is that according to the most recent Microsoft Security Intelligence Report, the number of unique vulnerability disclosures across the industry decreased 4 percent during the first half of 2008, continuing a decline that began in the second half of 2007. Still, users should take note of the importance of having their applications up-to-date.

"It is just as important to patch your programs against security threats as it is to have a personal firewall and anti-virus program running," said a Secunia blog post.

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