Despite its recent claims to be focusing on security, the number of vulnerabilities in Microsoft products grew from 703 in 2015 to 729 in 2016, according to VulnDB statistics released by Risk Based Security, a company that sells analytics and user-friendly dashboards designed to identify security risks by industry.
And, despite Redmond saying that Window 10 is a more secure product than its previous avatars, the VulnDB figures show that the total vulnerabilities in Windows 10 amount to 705, more than Windows 7, which Microsoft often says is more insecure than Windows 10. Windows 7 has been around much longer than Windows 10 but has so far recorded 647 vulnerabilities. Among other big tech companies, vulnerabilities in Google’s products also grew, with the company recording 1125 flaws in 2016, compared to 1016 in 2015. Cisco showed a big drop in vulnerabilities, with the figure for 2016 being 484, in comparison with 666 in 2015.
The same was the case with Apple, which recorded 530 vulnerabilities in 2016 compared to 777 the previous year. Adobe, which is well-known for vulnerabilities in its Flash player, had 549 vulnerabilities in 2016, with the 2015 figure being 505.
Risk Based Security records all vulnerabilities in the Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures list and the National Vulnerability Database, plus a large number from other sources. Accordingly, its VulnDB recorded a total of 15,000 vulnerabilities for 2016 (up to 23 January, 2017), 6659 more than in CVE and NVD together for the same period. Around a third of these vulnerabilities had public exploits but only a little under half could be exploited remotely.
The fact that this many vulnerabilities were reported across various sources could be put down to the increase in bug bounty programs by both vendors and third parties. In 2016, there 715 third-party bug bounty programmes and 190 offered by vendors. The 2015 figures were 694 and 161 respectively. The increase in bug bounties could, in turn, account for the drop in unco-ordinated disclosures, which fell from 2385 in 2015 to 2195 in 2016. Correspondingly, co-ordinated disclosures went up from 6134 to 6735.
The 2014 figures were 4161 for unco-ordinated disclosures and 4038 for co-ordinated disclosures, displaying a downward trend. Risk Based Security says its VulnDB counts only distinct vulnerabilities and if a product includes vulnerable code from third-party dependencies it is not treated as a new vulnerability.
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