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Running old operating systems means risking a lot, says Duo Security


Almost two thirds (65 per cent) of all Windows-powered devices are running on Windows 7, an operating system released in 2009. This leaves the devices vulnerable to approximately 600 security issues which plague the OS.  This is according to a new report by Duo Security, a cloud-based Trusted Access provider. 

In its Trusted Access Report: Microsoft Edition report, it also says there are ‘tens of thousands’ of devices still running on Windows XP, which was released 15 years ago. There are more than 700 vulnerabilities in this system, with 200 described by Duo Security as ‘high-to-critical’.  A fifth (20 per cent) of devices are running unsupported versions of Internet Explorer (versions 8, 9, 10), which have reached end-of-life status and are no longer getting security updates. Consequently, this leaves them extremely susceptible to older exploits. Just three per cent of all devices running Microsoft browsers use Edge, the latest app. Mike Hanley, 

Duo’s Director of Security, said, “The majority of users on Microsoft operating systems and browsers are failing to take advantage of the latest and greatest security updates and capabilities, leaving them open to potential attacks. This creates a risky proposition for out-of-date devices accessing sensitive cloud services and applications.” 

Duo Security advised businesses how to protect against the vulnerabilities and interestingly enough, it does not include switching to the latest version of Microsoft’s operating system. Duo does, however, suggest switching to a modern browser platform (such as Edge, Chrome, Firefox), running regular security updates, using device encryption, implementing two-factor authentication, enabling automatic updates and disabling auto-run for Flash and Java on corporate devices.  

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