Home PCs need patching every 4.8 days

News Web User Mar 3, 2010

The average home computer needs to have a new patch applied to cover security vulnerabilities in installed software programs every 4.8 days, Secunia has claimed.

Many home PCs don't have fully up-to-date software installed on them because the process of downloading and applying patches is too cumbersome, according to a security firm.

Having analysed the software installed on more than two million PCs around the world, the security firm claimed that in order for the typical home user to stay fully patched, an average of 75 patches from 22 different vendors need to be installed, requiring them to apply a patch every 4.8 days.

"In order for the user to install the 75 patches from the 22 different vendors, he or she has to master more than 22 different updating mechanisms, which is outside the bounds of what you can expect from a typical home user," said Thomas Kristensen, chief security officer of Secunia.

"The complexity and frequency of actions required to keep a typical home user's system fully patched and secure, most likely exceeds what users are willing and able to invest," Kristensen continued, adding that even skilled enthusiasts were unlikely to be fully up to date with patches.

Back in December 2008, the company claimed that an astonishing 98 per cent of home PCs were at risk because they didn't have vital security updates installed for some software packages.

Secunia based this claim on information it gathered from PCs that had its Personal Security Inspector program, which detects out-of-date and unpatched software, installed.

However, the company said that it is currently working on a new version of the software that includes automatic updates for the majority of software available and hopes to issue a preview version soon.

"Secunia's Automatic Updating initiative will help users on a global scale to automatically patch a majority of their software portfolio, and, thereby, stay fully patched and secure all the time," Kristensen said.