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BizReport : Internet : June 13, 2017

Risks to businesses of outdated OS and browsers revealed

Businesses running out-of-date operating systems are three times more likely to suffer a data breach, according to new research from security ratings service, BitSight.

by Helen Leggatt

BitSight investigated whether there was a correlation between real data breaches and the thousands of businesses running out-of-date versions of operating systems and browsers. The results showed that those running more than half their computers on outdated operating systems were three times more likely to suffer a data breach. Those running more than half their browsers on old versions were found to be twice as likely to suffer a breach.

BitSight found that, of the 35,000 companies globally across 20 industries, 2,000 had more than 50% of their computers running outdated operating systems, while 8,500 were running outdated browsers.

However, the findings do not suggest that the data breach was as a result of an outdated operating system or browser but instead that it is "an indicator in the risk profile of the victim organization", explained Dan Dahlberg, research scientist at BitSight.

More than a quarter of government computers were found to be running outdated Windows or Mac OS platforms, with Macs making up 80% of all of the old systems. Financial services, retail and healthcare scored the same with 15% of their operating systems out of date.

According to the report, "These are important findings because they suggest that although healthcare and retail companies have made most of the headlines for their exposure to recent ransomware attacks, the financial sector may be vulnerable to similar cyber attacks in the future as a result of their use of outdated systems".

Tags: browser, data breach, operating system, security

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