Java tops 2012 list for most dangerous software flaws

Some vulnerable software will stick around until hardware is trashed.

Adobe, Apple were behind the most software flaws in 2012, but Oracle’s Java was the most exploited and dangerous software for the year, according to research by Kaspersky Lab.

Adobe Shockwave/Flash Player, Apple iTunes/QuickTime and Oracle Java accounted for 28 of 37 vulnerabilities found on at least 10 percent of 11 million Windows machines that Kaspersky analysed during 2012.

While Apple’s and Adobe’s products clocked up more discovered flaws in Kaspersky’s filter, the five Java flaws for which there were exploits made it the most attacked. There were two exploited flaws for Flash and one for Adobe Reader.

According to the report, the lowest proportion of users exposed to an exploited Java flaw occurred in February and was 34 percent. The highest was in October when three Java vulnerabilities affected 61 percent.

The report does not include the last two Java 7 updates from Oracle that rushed out in January and February this year to patch zero day flaws that hackers were exploiting.

As Oracle’s director of software security assurance noted at the February update, “the fact that Java in browsers is OS-independent, makes Java an attractive target for malicious hackers.”

Not surprisingly, many users were also slow to apply patches released by Oracle. Seven weeks after Oracle released its August patch update, only 30 percent in its scan had updated to the latest version, by which time Oracle had released another update to address a new set of vulnerabilities.

The upgrade speed for major browsers is faster than updates available for actively exploited vulnerabilities in Java, according to Kaspersky.

The story was similar for vulnerable Adobe Flash Player and Reader products, which persisted on millions of PCs despite known exploits for these versions. A version of Flash Player from 2010 remained on 10 percent of systems in the scan, according to Kaspersky.

“It seems possible that this vulnerability will only disappear when all computers currently running obsolete software are replaced with new ones,” the report speculates.

The company called for more “streamlined and automated” update processes for installed software.

“Even when a software vendor does its best to recognise a security flaw and releases an update in a timely manner, this means nothing for a significant proportion of users,” the security firm notes.

Follow @CSO_Australia and sign up to the CSO Australia newsletter.

Join the CSO newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags Appleadobejava

More about Adobe SystemsAppleCSOKasperskyKasperskyOracle

Show Comments

Featured Whitepapers

Editor's Recommendations

Solution Centres

Stories by Liam Tung

Latest Videos

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: The Human Factor - Your people are your biggest security weakness

    ​Speakers: David Lacey, Researcher and former CISO Royal Mail David Turner - Global Risk Management Expert Mark Guntrip - Group Manager, Email Protection, Proofpoint

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: Current ransomware defences are failing – but machine learning can drive a more proactive solution

    Speakers • Ty Miller, Director, Threat Intelligence • Mark Gregory, Leader, Network Engineering Research Group, RMIT • Jeff Lanza, Retired FBI Agent (USA) • Andy Solterbeck, VP Asia Pacific, Cylance • David Braue, CSO MC/Moderator What to expect: ​Hear from industry experts on the local and global ransomware threat landscape. Explore a new approach to dealing with ransomware using machine-learning techniques and by thinking about the problem in a fundamentally different way. Apply techniques for gathering insight into ransomware behaviour and find out what elements must go into a truly effective ransomware defence. Get a first-hand look at how ransomware actually works in practice, and how machine-learning techniques can pick up on its activities long before your employees do.

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: Get real about metadata to avoid a false sense of security

    Speakers: • Anthony Caruana – CSO MC and moderator • Ian Farquhar, Worldwide Virtual Security Team Lead, Gigamon • John Lindsay, Former CTO, iiNet • Skeeve Stevens, Futurist, Future Sumo • David Vaile - Vice chair of APF, Co-Convenor of the Cyberspace Law And Policy Community, UNSW Law Faculty This webinar covers: - A 101 on metadata - what it is and how to use it - Insight into a typical attack, what happens and what we would find when looking into the metadata - How to collect metadata, use this to detect attacks and get greater insight into how you can use this to protect your organisation - Learn how much raw data and metadata to retain and how long for - Get a reality check on how you're using your metadata and if this is enough to secure your organisation

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: How banking trojans work and how you can stop them

    CSO Webinar: How banking trojans work and how you can stop them Featuring: • John Baird, Director of Global Technology Production, Deutsche Bank • Samantha Macleod, GM Cyber Security, ME Bank • Sherrod DeGrippo, Director of Emerging Threats, Proofpoint (USA)

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    IDG Live Webinar:The right collaboration strategy will help your business take flight

    Speakers - Mike Harris, Engineering Services Manager, Jetstar - Christopher Johnson, IT Director APAC, 20th Century Fox - Brent Maxwell, Director of Information Systems, THE ICONIC - IDG MC/Moderator Anthony Caruana

    Play Video

More videos

Blog Posts