Microsoft patched a total of 530 vulnerabilities in 2016 and many of them were mitigated by the removal of administrator rights, according to a report published this week by endpoint security firm Avecto.
Avecto’s Microsoft Vulnerabilities Report for 2016 shows that 189 of the flaws fixed by the tech giant last year were classified as critical, and 94 percent of the Windows issues can be mitigated by removing admin rights. This mitigation works for all critical vulnerabilities affecting Internet Explorer and Edge, and 99 percent of Office flaws.
Roughly two-thirds of all the vulnerabilities affecting Microsoft products can be mitigated using this method. The percentage increased in 2016, but it has been at a fairly steady level over the past years.
According to Avecto, the number of security holes reported to Microsoft has increased by more than 60 percent in the past years, from 333 in 2013 to 530 in 2016. However, judging by the first round of updates for 2017, the number could drop significantly this year.
While Windows 10 has been advertised as the most secure version of the operating system, experts pointed out that it had the highest proportion of vulnerabilities compared to other versions. The number of flaws affecting Windows 10 was nearly 50 percent higher than in Windows 8 and 8.1. Removal of admin rights mitigated 93 percent of Windows 10 vulnerabilities.
“Privilege management and application control should be the cornerstone of your endpoint security strategy, building up from there to create ever stronger, multiple layers of defense. These measures can have a dramatic impact on your ability to mitigate today’s attacks,” explained Mark Austin, co-founder and co-CEO of Avecto. “Times have changed; removing admin rights and controlling applications is no longer difficult to achieve.”
Avecto’s full 2016 Microsoft Vulnerabilities Report is available for download in PDF format.