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17% of Saudi PCs are unpatched: report

Secunia KSA report finds third-party apps pose greatest risk to users

17% of Saudi PCs are unpatched: report
Microsoft programs represent 41% of the overall share of programs installed on private Saudi PCs

Around 17% of users in Saudi Arabia are running on unpatched operating systems, according to Secunia's Personal Software Inspector country report for the Kingdom in Q4 2014.

The report found that the average PC user in Saudi Arabia has 84 programs installed from 30 different vendors, and that 17.2% of users have unpatched operating systems.

According to the report, Microsoft programs represent 41% of the overall share of programs installed on private Saudi PCs, with the other 59% of applications coming from third-party vendors. It is these third-party programs that pose the greatest security risk, Secunia said - 17.1% of them remain unpatched on average PCs, compared to just 5.5% of Microsoft programs.

This state of affairs was due to the fact that there is a single update mechanism for Microsoft's programs - Windows largely downloads updates automatically and installs them whenever a user turns of his or her PC. However, Secunia said there were 29 different mechanisms required to patch non-Microsoft applications.

The vendor said that this left private users at risk of being attacked by cyber-criminals.

"Digital criminals are aware that most private users consider regular security maintenance of their PC hard work. As a result, a lot of users have PCs that are inadequately patched and therefore easily compromised," a round-up of the report said.

"Although cyber-security is one of the fastest growing markets globally, cyber-crimes continue to grow more intricate and frequent. These complex cyber-crimes open opportunities that hackers can exploit to gain access to vital personal data."

Secunia's KSA report also ranked the top 10 programs installed on Saudi PCs based on risk exposure - calculated by multiplying the percentage of market share by the percentage of unpatched users.

The report found that VLC Media Player 2.x was at the top of the list, with Oracle Java JRE 1.7.x/7.x close behind.

The report also released the top 10 ‘end-of-life' (EOL) programs based on market share. The Microsoft XML Core Services 4 was first on the list with 76% market share.

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