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BlueKeep Patching Efforts Sink: 750,000 Systems Still Vulnerable

More than 750,000 systems remain vulnerable to the BlueKeep vulnerability as patching rate has decreased by around 85%, a new report from security firm BitSight reveals. 

Tracked as CVE-2019-0708, the vulnerability was found to impact Windows Remote Desktop Services (RDS) and to allow an attacker to execute code and take over the vulnerable machine. Malware can abuse the flaw to spread in a manner similar to that of the WannaCry ransomware. 

In May this year, Microsoft released security patches to address the vulnerability in Windows 7, Server 2008, XP and Server 2003, when nearly 1 million systems were found at risk

Now, BitSight reveals that, although initial patching efforts reached approximately 5,244 systems per day, the rate has decreased significantly in July. As of July 23, around 831 systems were being patched each day.

The security firm has observed 788,214 internet-connected systems vulnerable to BlueKeep as of July 23, meaning that around 81% of the exposed vulnerable systems observed at the end of May (namely 972,829 systems) remain unpatched.  

“Unfortunately, we might encounter a situation where the rate of patching tapers off leaving behind a legacy set of systems that remain vulnerable, perhaps unbeknownst to system operators,” BitSight notes. 

Analysis of the vulnerable systems allowed the security firm to “ascertain the operating system with high confidence for 517,654 (53.21%) and 462,923 (58.73%) systems respectively based on attributes of the RDP protocol.”

Thus, BitSight reveals that Windows Server 2008 R2 powers the largest number of affected systems (around 300,000), followed by Windows 7 (around 50,000), Windows Server 2003 (around 40,000), Windows Server 2008 (between 20,000 and 25,000), and Windows Server 2003 R2 (around 20,000). 

Around 10,000 vulnerable systems would run Windows XP, while a small fraction were found to be powered by Windows Vista and embedded versions of Windows 7 and Windows XP. 

Compared to the end of May, systems running server versions of Windows saw the highest patching rate, compared to operating systems associated with workstations, which in some cases show increases in the number of vulnerable systems.  

“We’ve observed the presence of nearly every edition for each Windows family affected. Most interestingly, flavors such as Windows Server 2008 R2 HPC Edition and various Small Business Servers are noticeably present amongst the rest of the editions,” BitSight notes. 

Microsoft also says that it has observed a large number of systems (over 400,000) that have no form of network-level authentication, which puts them potentially at risk from a worm-based weaponization of BlueKeep.

RelatedMicrosoft Warns of New BlueKeep-Like, Wormable RDS Vulnerabilities

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