Software vulnerabilities spiked 39 percent in 2006

Microsoft, Oracle, Apple head the list of vendors whose products were found to be most vulnerable in 2006

The annual IBM Internet Security Systems security trends report published Tuesday shows 7,427 software bugs were cataloged last year, an increase of 39.5 percent over the number of vulnerabilities identified in 2005.

IBM listed itself among the Top 10 vendors, whose products accounted for 964 of the 7,424 disclosed software vulnerabilities. According to the report, the Top 10 vendors for last year, in descending order, are: Microsoft, Oracle, Apple, Mozilla, IBM, Linux Kernal Organization, Sun, Cisco, HP and Adobe Systems.

The report says 86% of the Top 10 vendors' publicly disclosed vulnerabilities received a software patch.

The remaining balance of the 2006 vulnerabilities are ascribed to "other vendors," and 65 percent of these software flaws were patched, according the IBM ISS report.

The 39.5 percent spike in the number of vulnerabilities can be attributed to the type of tools security experts use now to evaluate software, says Gunter Ollmann, director of the X-Force research and rapid-response division within Internet Security Systems. "The use of fuzzing technology in the automated tools can find where bugs lie," Ollman says.

Automated fuzzing tools typically run scripts that are tuned to throw garbled data at an application and see how it handles it, revealing many unwanted code-execution risks. These are often cataloged as medium risks, rather than high- or low-risk.

In general, the number of vulnerabilities discovered each year has been growing since 2000, and the risks associated with those vulnerabilities have been getting worse. In the year 2000, only 43.6 percent of vulnerabilities could be remotely exploited, while in 2006, that number reached 88.4 percent, according to the report.

Spam and phishing trends also are changing.

For one, spam messages have grown in size over the last two years, increasing from an average of 6KB to 9.5KB. "This is largely due to the increased inclusion of random data designed to help spam bypass the first-generation antispam technologies, and the use of images to convey message content," the IBM ISS report states.

The report also found that spam messages are overwhelmingly sent in English, with only the languages of German, Korean, Portuguese and Russian appearing in any amount worth noting.

Geographically, IBM ISS points to South Korea (16.33 percent), Spain (14.71 percent), the United States (10.95 percent), France (9.92 percent), Brazil (6.76 percent), Israel (6.41 percent), Germany (5.27 percent), Italy (4.34 percent), Poland (3.28 percent) and Argentina (2.64 percent) as source countries with the greatest measured volumes of phishing e-mail transmitted.

Top phishing target countries, where the most phishing e-mail is received, are said to be the United States (71.37 percent), United Kingdom (4.96 percent), Germany (4.58 percent), Australia (2.67 percent) and Canada (2.67 percent).

The report also takes a stab at interpreting growth in unwanted content, including violence and crime, pornography, computer-related crime and drug-dealing sites. In terms of Web sites, the U.S. tops the list in every category and accounts for more than 50 percent in each case, according to the IBM ISS report.

When it comes to the most frequently seen malware, the Downloader Trojan turned up the most in 2006, according to IBM ISS.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Ellen Messmer

Network World
Show Comments

Essentials

Brother MFC-L3745CDW Colour Laser Multifunction

Learn more >

Mobile

Exec

Sony WH-1000XM4 Wireless Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Tom Pope

Dynabook Portégé X30L-G

Ultimately this laptop has achieved everything I would hope for in a laptop for work, while fitting that into a form factor and weight that is remarkable.

Tom Sellers

MSI P65

This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang

MSI GT76

It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Jack Jeffries

MSI GS75

As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr

MSI PS63

The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?