New research has found that millions of Internet users are running serious security risks by failing to use up to date web browsers.
A report from Kaspersky Lab investigated the trends of 10 million randomly selected members of its customer base across the world and found that nearly a quarter of users were still using old versions of browsers. 23 per cent of those surveyed in August 2012 had not updated to the most modern iteration of their program, while 8.5 per cent were using completely outdated browsers, putting their data and computer health at great risk.
Kaspersky says “[s]uch reluctance to upgrade is a key addition to the negative outlook on web-born threats.” Up to date browsers plug security holes and offer extra features protecting against the latest exploitations, whereas cybercriminals have a far greater number of vulnerabilities ready to be exposed on old versions. “What is even worse,” the firm says, “failing to upgrade most likely affects other programs as well – including the direct gateways.”
Just under 80 per cent of the research sample had the latest version of a browser, but Kaspersky reports that a large proportion of these users are still likely to have an outdated browser installed on their computer. Even if someone is using an up to date Google Chrome, having an older version of Internet Explorer lingering on the desktop can leave security holes open.
As our recent guide to fundamental Internet security emphasised, keeping systems updated ranked alongside using a modern web software as one of the key tips, and Kaspersky said Chrome recorded the fastest times for completing updates. Opera and Firefox, on the other hand, lagged “significantly” behind.