Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Perimeter

11/5/2009
09:28 PM
Wolfgang Kandek
Wolfgang Kandek
Commentary
50%
50%

Dissecting Microsoft's Latest Security Intelligence Report

This week Microsoft published volume 7 of its Security Intelligence Report (SIR), covering January 2009 through June 2009.

This week Microsoft published volume 7 of its Security Intelligence Report (SIR), covering January 2009 through June 2009.In the report, Microsoft uses data from internal data sources such as:

The report also included external data from a variety of sources to capture the security landscape of Windows computers during the first half of 2009.

The report extends on previous sections and includes for the first time a comparison of the different patching speeds seen in the Windows Operating system family and for the Microsoft Office Application suite. Microsoft confirms (SIR pg. 129) that users are applying patches to the Windows OS faster than patches to the Office suite, a practice which increases the system's susceptibility to attacks. Unfortunately the data is not broken down by source, so we do not know whether this behavior is observed equally in the consumer (Live OneCare) and the enterprise (Forefront Client Security) space.

The graph below compares attacks observed in the sample set against Windows and Office During 1H09. The data shows that Windows OS is patched much faster than Office products, making the median for the last patch date for Windows to be 1.2 years compared to 5.6 years for Office.

win_office_patches_small.PNG

In Qualys' own data, which is derived entirely from enterprises and SMBs, we have seen similar behavior -- organizations patch applications, such as Microsoft Office, at a markedly slower pace than the core operating system.

Microsoft is by no means the only software vendor affected; we see the same behavior for software provided by Adobe (Adobe Reader and Flash), Apple (QuickTime and iTunes), and Sun Java. In the consumer space, this is likely caused by the prevalence of Windows Update, which delivers only patches for the Windows OS. Microsoft Update, which delivers patches for Windows, Office, and other Microsoft products, is still used only in about 50 percent of all update requests, even though its usage has been growing for the last three years (SIR pg. 162).

In enterprises, however, this should not be the case -- companies typically use dedicated patching tools to control the distribution of patches and all such tools support the installation of patches for common applications, including Office, Adobe Reader, and Apple's QuickTime.

This is clearly an area where enterprise IT administrators can tune their processes and improve the security of their installation by starting to pay more attention to applications patches as more attach vectors are now being focused on these software flaws.

-- As the CTO for Qualys, Wolfgang Kandek is responsible for product direction and all operational aspects of the QualysGuard platform and its infrastructure. Wolfgang has more than 20 years of experience in developing and managing information systems. His focus has been on Unix-based server architectures and application delivery through the Internet. Wolfgang provides the latest commentary on his blog: laws.qualys.com and also publishes his Patch Tuesday commentary to the QualysGuard channel: http://www.youtube.com/QualysGuard. He is a frequent source in business and trade media and speaks at industry conferences around the world, most recently at RSA 2009.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Data Leak Week: Billions of Sensitive Files Exposed Online
Kelly Jackson Higgins, Executive Editor at Dark Reading,  12/10/2019
Intel Issues Fix for 'Plundervolt' SGX Flaw
Kelly Jackson Higgins, Executive Editor at Dark Reading,  12/11/2019
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon
Current Issue
The Year in Security: 2019
This Tech Digest provides a wrap up and overview of the year's top cybersecurity news stories. It was a year of new twists on old threats, with fears of another WannaCry-type worm and of a possible botnet army of Wi-Fi routers. But 2019 also underscored the risk of firmware and trusted security tools harboring dangerous holes that cybercriminals and nation-state hackers could readily abuse. Read more.
Flash Poll
Rethinking Enterprise Data Defense
Rethinking Enterprise Data Defense
Frustrated with recurring intrusions and breaches, cybersecurity professionals are questioning some of the industrys conventional wisdom. Heres a look at what theyre thinking about.
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2019-5252
PUBLISHED: 2019-12-14
There is an improper authentication vulnerability in Huawei smartphones (Y9, Honor 8X, Honor 9 Lite, Honor 9i, Y6 Pro). The applock does not perform a sufficient authentication in a rare condition. Successful exploit could allow the attacker to use the application locked by applock in an instant.
CVE-2019-5235
PUBLISHED: 2019-12-14
Some Huawei smart phones have a null pointer dereference vulnerability. An attacker crafts specific packets and sends to the affected product to exploit this vulnerability. Successful exploitation may cause the affected phone to be abnormal.
CVE-2019-5264
PUBLISHED: 2019-12-13
There is an information disclosure vulnerability in certain Huawei smartphones (Mate 10;Mate 10 Pro;Honor V10;Changxiang 7S;P-smart;Changxiang 8 Plus;Y9 2018;Honor 9 Lite;Honor 9i;Mate 9). The software does not properly handle certain information of applications locked by applock in a rare condition...
CVE-2019-5277
PUBLISHED: 2019-12-13
Huawei CloudUSM-EUA V600R006C10;V600R019C00 have an information leak vulnerability. Due to improper configuration, the attacker may cause information leak by successful exploitation.
CVE-2019-5254
PUBLISHED: 2019-12-13
Certain Huawei products (AP2000;IPS Module;NGFW Module;NIP6300;NIP6600;NIP6800;S5700;SVN5600;SVN5800;SVN5800-C;SeMG9811;Secospace AntiDDoS8000;Secospace USG6300;Secospace USG6500;Secospace USG6600;USG6000V;eSpace U1981) have an out-of-bounds read vulnerability. An attacker who logs in to the board m...