70% of businesses are open to attacks due to unpatched software

Exploits that target unpatched software are a prominent online threat that businesses are failing to address, says cyber security firm F-Secure.

New research finds that over 70 per cent of businesses continue to leave themselves open to attacks by failing to update their software.

This comes after a recent alert from the United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team, that warns that up to 85 per cent of targeted attacks are preventable by following simple security precautions, most notably keeping software updated with the latest security patches – yet many businesses continue to neglect the importance of updating their software.

According to Timo Hirvonen, senior researcher at F-Secure, the reluctance of businesses to commit to software updating shows how out of touch many companies are with the contemporary threat landscape: “Many people feel that updating software is just a hassle that can break applications or cause other problems, but it’s actually the other way around.

“Criminals count on people ignoring security patches, so they work pretty hard to develop exploits targeting the vulnerabilities exposed by those patches. Then they execute their attacks before people install the update, so what you have is a whole attack strategy relying on people using unpatched software.”

F-Secure Labs reported an 82 per cent increase in exploits targeting a Flash-based vulnerability that was disclosed after the Hacking Team data breach last July. Hirvonen believes that surges in activity like this make exploits such prominent security concerns, and that’s why timely and diligent software updating is so important.

Image source: Shutterstock

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