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Almost half the security bugs chronicled by Secunia in the last year were not covered by a patch at the time of their publication.

That figure, actually 45 per cent, may seem dangerously high but the firm reports that it has actually improved from 47 per cent to 55 per cent a year ago. This indicates that more researchers are coordinating the disclosure of vulnerabilities with vendors, Secunia notes.

The number of critical vulnerabilities, or flaws, that permit system access, have increased from 24 per cent to 30 per cent over the last 12 months even though the absolute number of security holes has dropped.

It often seems a difficult, if not impossible, task to keep up to date with patches or, as Secunia puts it, "timely patching of the software portfolio of any organisation is like chasing a continually moving target".

However Secunia reports that an 80 per cent reduction in risk can normally be achieved by either patching the 12 most critical bugs or the 37 most prevalent programs in a sample portfolio of a type commonly found on enterprise Windows desktops.

It's much more effective to apply this kind of security charge across all applications rather than purely concentrating on Windows updates and other security fixes from Microsoft alone, not least because Adobe applications, in particular, have become a firm favourite with hackers and malware peddlers.

The stats in Secunia's report (here - registration required) come from its vulnerability intelligence database. ®

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