IBM report: Vulnerabilities still going unpatched

IBM X-Force report finds many disclosed vulnerabilities are unpatched years later and that Microsoft is the vendor with the highest percentage of disclosed holes.

Elinor Mills Former Staff Writer
Elinor Mills covers Internet security and privacy. She joined CNET News in 2005 after working as a foreign correspondent for Reuters in Portugal and writing for The Industry Standard, the IDG News Service and the Associated Press.
Elinor Mills
2 min read

More than half of the security vulnerabilities disclosed during 2008 had no patches available from the vendor by the end of the year, according to a report released on Monday by IBM's X-Force research group.

Vendors with the most vulnerabilities disclosed in 2008. IBM X-Force

Meanwhile, 46 percent of vulnerabilities from 2006 and 44 percent from 2007 still had no patch by the end of 2008, the 2008 X-Force Trend and Risk report said. X-Force documented a record number of 7,406 new vulnerabilities last year.

Overall, Microsoft is the vendor that tops the list in percentage of vulnerabilities disclosed, the report said. The Macintosh and base Linux kernel operating systems have dominated the top spots for vulnerabilities by operating system over the past three years, the report said. There were no breakdowns by vendor or operating system for unpatched vulnerabilities.

Most of the spam last year appeared to come from Russia (12 percent), followed by the U.S. (9.6 percent), and Turkey (7.8 percent), although the spam senders could be located in a different location, the report says.

China unseated the U.S. as the country hosting the largest number of malicious Web sites for the first time last year.

Meanwhile, 46 percent of all malware attacks last year were Trojans targeting people playing online games and doing online banking, and 90 percent of phishing attacks targeted financial institutions, according to the report.

Two main trends attackers used last year were SQL injection attacks, in which a small malicious script is inserted into a database that feeds information to the Web site, and malicious URLs hosting exploits.

The operating systems with the most vulnerability disclosures in 2008. IBM X-Force

Updated 2:25 p.m. PST to add that report does not list which vendors and operating system platforms had the most unpatched vulnerabilities.