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November 12, 2012

Cyber criminals exploit vulnerabilities in old browsers: report

About 14.5% of the users are using previous version, but 8.5% still use obsolete versions

By CBR Staff Writer

About 23% of the users are still using old or outdated browsers, leaving big security holes for the system, according to Kaspersky Lab.

According to the anti-virus application developer, majority of the cyber attacks are carried out through by exploiting vulnerabilities in the web browser applications themselves, or outdated plug-ins within the browser.

A study conducted by Kaspersky Lab found that about 14.5% of the users are using previous version, but 8.5% still use obsolete versions while about 77% customers are using the latest stable or beta versions of the browser.

Since web users take about a month to update their browser to upgrade to the latest version, leaving the vulnerabilities in the browsers exposed to cybercriminals to exploit.

During the survey it was found that Internet Explorer was most popular browser with 37.8% of the users are using it while 36.5% are using Google Chrome and about 19.5% are using Firefox.

In terms of upgrade being installed, about 80% of the Internet Explorer users installed recent version, 79.2% installed Chrome, 78.1% Opera and Firefox 66.1%.

Kaspersky Lab Whitelisting and Cloud Infrastructure Research director Andrey Efremov said the research paints an alarming picture.

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"While most users make a switch to the most recent browser within a month of the update, there will still be around a quarter of users who have not made the transition," Efremov said.

"That means millions of potentially vulnerable machines, constantly attacked using new and well-known web-born threats. This is strong evidence of the urgent need for proper security software which is able to react to new threats in a matter of minutes, not days or even weeks."

Among the obsolete browsers being used by web users are Internet Explorer 6 and 7 which jointly account 3.9% share.

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