Outdated And Unsupported Operating Systems Open To Attack

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According to recent research by Alert Logic, discovered 66% of small and midsize businesses (SMB) devices run Microsoft OS versions that have expired or will expire by January 2020, the majority of which are over 10 years old.  

The report highlights the challenges SMBs face, reveals a steady increase in attacks and changes in attack methods that target their weaknesses in encryption, workload configuration, limited visibility into vulnerabilities and outdated and unsupported operating systems 

  • 66% of SMB devices run Microsoft OS versions that are expired or will expire by January 2020. Shockingly, the majority of devices scanned in the research were running Windows versions more than 10 years old. 
  • 42% of SMB security issues are related to encryption. While automated patching has helped to reduce the frequency of vulnerabilities, configurations remain a major issue. The report identified just 13 encryption-related configuration issues accounted for 42% of all security issues found. 
  • 75% of unpatched vulnerabilities in the SMB space are more than one year old. Even though automated updates have improved software patching, organizations are still having difficulty keeping pace. Open source software further complicates the patch cycle, especially when it is embedded. 
  • More than 30% of SMB email servers operate on unsupported software. Modern businesses are fueled by email, and SMBs are no exception. Despite email being the life blood of most organizations, almost a third of the top email servers detected were running Exchange 2000, which has been unsupported for nearly 10 years. 

Expert Comments: 

Nilesh Dherange, CTO at Gurucul: 

“Embedded medical devices use Microsoft operating systems because it’s cost effective. The problem is you can’t easily update the operating system of these devices – the individuals need to be at a medical facility in order to do so. That makes it incredibly difficult to patch operating system vulnerabilities in a timely fashion, which leaves individuals with embedded medical devices at risk. Monitoring such IoT devices with behavior analytics would enable healthcare organisations to discover anomalous activity on embedded medical devices to then alert the affected individuals so they can visit a facility to check the device” 



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