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Monday, 27 February 2017 09:56

Windows 10 least secure of Windows versions: study Featured

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Windows 10 was the least secure of current Windows versions in 2016, with 46% more vulnerabilities than either Windows 8 or 8.1, according to an analysis of Microsoft's own security bulletins in 2016.

Security firm Avecto said its research, titled "2016 Microsoft Vulnerabilities Study: Mitigating risk by removing user privileges", had also found that a vast majority of vulnerabilities found in Microsoft products could be mitigated by removing admin rights.

The research found that, despite its claims to being the "most secure" of Microsoft's operating systems, Windows 10 had 395 vulnerabilities in 2016, while Windows 8 and 8.1 each had 265.

The research also found that while 530 Microsoft vulnerabilities were reported — marginally up from the 524 reported in 2015 — and 189 given a critical rating, 94% could be mitigated by removing admin rights. This was up from 85% in 2015.

Every single one of the vulnerabilities that affected Internet Explorer and the new Edge browser in 2016 could have again been mitigated by removing admin rights, the research found. For Windows, this figure was 94%.

And, if one looked at all the Microsoft vulnerabilities reported for 2016, two-thirds could be mitigated by removing admin rights.

This is the fourth report of its kind from Avecto.

The research also found that the total number of Windows vulnerabilities reported had gone up by 63% from 2013 to 2016.

Avecto found that 416 vulnerabilities had been reported across Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows RT, Windows 8/8.1 and Windows 10 in 2016, compared to 433 in 2015 and 300 in 2014.

"Remote Code Execution (RCE) vulnerabilities account for the largest proportion of total Microsoft vulnerabilities. Of these, 70% were classed as Critical. Almost 90% of total RCE vulnerabilities and 94% of Critical RCE vulnerabilities could be mitigated by removal of admin rights," the report said.

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Sam Varghese

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Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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