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16 August 2011, 16:42

Kaspersky study finds Adobe software is biggest security risk

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Zoom Adobe and Oracle are responsible for all of the ten most common vulnerabilities
Source: Kaspersky Labs

According to its newly released threat report for Q2 2011, software from anti-virus specialist Kaspersky Labs detected an average of twelve security vulnerabilities on its users' Windows systems. The company reports that all of the top ten most frequently detected vulnerabilities are to be found in Adobe or Oracle products. Almost 41 per cent of the computers tested were affected by a critical vulnerability in Adobe Reader for which an update has been available from Adobe since last autumn. Around 31 per cent were affected by a critical Java vulnerability.

However, the worst performer was Flash Player, which was responsible for six of the ten most frequently detected security problems. The auto-update features in Adobe Reader, Flash and Java are clearly not yet managing to ensure a sufficiently comprehensive roll-out of the latest and most secure versions. Although Adobe added an optional silent update function at the start of 2010, and this has recently been enabled by default, older versions that will never benefit from the new update function remain in circulation.

Microsoft is having greater success in disseminating updates. It has not made the top 10 at all this year, with Kaspersky reporting that Windows Update, which is enabled by default, has succeeded in ensuring that its customers benefit from timely security updates. Cyber-criminals have also wised up to this fact, with the result that vulnerabilities in plug-ins have long become the most popular target for attacks.

The report also reveals that scareware is becoming ever more popular with fraudsters. The number of scareware installations blocked by Kaspersky software increased by 300 per cent in the second quarter. According to the report, the US, UK and Canada are especially popular as targets for scareware distributors. Kaspersky also observed a doubling in newly discovered malware for Java mobiles and a near tripling in malware targeted at Android smartphones. This kind of malware is mostly used to send premium rate texts at the victim's expense.

Kaspersky's quarterly threat report uses anonymised statistical data voluntarily provided by Kaspersky software users via the Kaspersky Security Network (KSN).

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