Flexera Software's Secunia Research Group Australia Country Report
The release of the latest Country Report from Flexera Software’s Secunia Research group has provided some very revealing insights into the habits of Australian PC users. The country reports are based on the data from the users of Flexera Software Personal Software Inspector (PSI) and cover 14 different countries and over 8 million users. The reports provide a status on vulnerable software products on private PCs, listing the vulnerable applications and ranking them by the extent to which they expose those PCs to hackers.
One of the key findings in the Australian report showed that 78% of users had Adobe Flash Player 19 installed – an end-of-life program that was discovered to have a zero-day vulnerability and was also rated ‘Extremely critical’ by Flexera Software. End-of-life (EOL) programs are no longer maintained or supported by the vendor, and do not receive security updates. These programs are treated as insecure and pose a big security risk. Following Adobe Flash, 64% of users had Microsoft XML Core Services 4 installed and 48% had Google Chrome 46 still installed – all end-of-life programs.
Another interesting point to note, on average, there are 79 programs installed on an Australian PC, and 41% of these applications are Microsoft programs and the remaining 59% of these programs are actually from non-Microsoft vendors. Microsoft has made it very easy for users to stay patched as they provide people with automated updates and a well-established security patch process. Their user-friendly approach to security is one explanation for why only 4.1% of Microsoft applications on private PCs are unpatched.
On the other hand, the non-Microsoft programs are poorly patched compared to Microsoft. While there are only 4.1% of unpatched Microsoft applications, almost three times as many non-Microsoft applications - 11.8% - are left unpatched. This difference is mainly due to the fact that 27 different vendors are behind those 47 applications, and each of those vendors has its own update mechanism. Essentially, this means that users have to familiarise themselves with 27 different update mechanisms and install the updates every time they become available.
Personal Software Inspector
To help users stay secure Flexera Software offers Personal Software Inspector (formerly Secunia PSI 3.0), a free computer security scanner which identifies software applications that are insecure and in need of security updates. It has been downloaded by over 8 million PC users globally to detect vulnerable and outdated programs and plug-ins.