hen it comes to cybersecurity, known and unknown vulnerabilities are by far the biggest threat to networks. While brute-force attacks such as DoS attacks can make headlines, vulnerabilities from unpatched operating systems and software applications are more often the source of data breaches, system outages, and cybercrime. In his book Code Complete, author Steve McConnell estimates, “about 15 - 50 errors per 1000 lines of delivered code.” A single OS like Windows 10 consists of over 50 million lines of code, that leaves a lot of vulnerabilities that will need to be patched over time.

While some vulnerabilities are left undiscovered, others are found by internal or external vulnerability researchers, users who notice unexpected behavior in a program, or by hackers looking for holes in a system through which they can inject malicious code or install malware. When you consider the sheer number of endpoints across a company’s infrastructure, it becomes clear that visibility, control, and speed are critical elements for IT Managers and SysAdmins to remediate vulnerabilities and reduce their attack surface.

Patching is the Problem, Not Zero Day Attacks

Unknown vulnerabilities are dangerous as they can lead to zero-day attacks, when a black hat hacker finds a vulnerability and launches an attack before it can be patched. However, known vulnerabilities are exploited far more often than unknown vulnerabilities, as hackers have an easier time exploiting known vulnerabilities than discovering new vulnerabilities. In 6,300 vulnerabilities found in 2015, only 54 of them, less than 1%, were classified as zero-days1.

The majority of exploited vulnerabilities actually have patches available, and many have been patched for several years: Both Microsoft and Verizon have reported that vulnerabilities dating back 5-10 years still account for a large percentage of successful attacks, with Verizon reporting that 20% of exploited vulnerabilities are more than 10 years old2. Fortunately, companies can dramatically reduce their exposure to vulnerabilities by staying up-to-date on patches released by software and hardware vendors.

In 2016, 702 million attacks3 were launched on known vulnerabilities, and yet many companies remain partially unpatched due to the time consuming, resource intensive, never-ending exercise. According to Microsoft, 6,000 new patches are released each year, this level of security is simply not manageable with manual patch management. Fortunately, there are affordable, fast, effective new cloud based patch management solutions.

Cloud-native patch management solutions provide reach beyond your firewalls and are more accessible than legacy solutions, which are cost-prohibitive for most businesses. Cloud-native solutions like Automox are deployed via a lightweight agent, can patch clients and servers anywhere in the world, and continually update so you can keep all of your systems up to date.

Automox functionality includes real time patch status of every endpoint in your infrastructure, control over configuration settings, automated patching of hybrid and mixed OS-environments from a single dashboard, on demand status reporting, control over patch testing, and 3rd party software deployment and patching.  Automox users report a 90% reduction in time spent on patching.

1 https://www.csoonline.com/article/3075830/data-protection/zero-days-arent-the-problem-patches-are.html2 http://www.verizonenterprise.com/verizon-insights-lab/dbir/3 https://www.scmagazineuk.com/cyber-attacks-using-exploits-up-by-a-quarter-in-2016-says-kaspersky/article/652042/

About Automox

Facing growing threats and a rapidly expanding attack surface, understaffed and alert-fatigued organizations need more efficient ways to eliminate their exposure to vulnerabilities. Automox is a modern cyber hygiene platform that closes the aperture of attack by more than 80% with just half the effort of traditional solutions.

Cloud-native and globally available, Automox enforces OS & third-party patch management, security configurations, and custom scripting across Windows, Mac, and Linux from a single intuitive console. IT and SecOps can quickly gain control and share visibility of on-prem, remote and virtual endpoints without the need to deploy costly infrastructure.

Experience modern, cloud-native management today with a 15-day free trial of Automox and start recapturing more than half the time you're currently spending on managing your attack surface. Automox dramatically reduces corporate risk while raising operational efficiency to deliver best-in-class security outcomes, faster and with fewer resources.

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