PC users and their private data are vulnerable to security risks due to out-of-date applications stored on their computers, new research has found.
Digital Security Products provider, Avast, gathered anonymised and aggregated data from 163m devices worldwide and found that 55% of the devices they reviewed were out-of-date.
The firm’s ‘PC Trends 2019’ report found out that users open themselves up to hackers by not updating security patches, and not removing out-dated applications on the computer.
Avast discovered that Windows 7 users were the most vulnerable to attacks, with 15% of all Windows 7 users using older, and no longer supported, versions on their computer.
Last week, Microsoft revealed that it is ending support for Windows 7 by January 2020, which means that more Windows 7 users will be defenceless and vulnerable to future attacks.
The report also found out that 9% of Windows 10 users worldwide are running out-dated applications on their computers.
Out-of-date PC applications
The report states that the most common PC applications that are frequently neglected by PC users are Adobe Shockwave (96%), VLC Media Player (94%) and Skype (94%).
According to the report, Microsoft Office is one of the most out-of-date apps amongst PC users. Globally, 15% of users still had the enterprise 2007 version installed on their computer, even though support and bug fixes are no longer offer for that version.
By 2020, Office 2010 will no longer receive any support, but this won’t cause much of a problem as it is only installed on 3% of computers globally.
Ondrej Vlcek, President of Avast, asserts that as PC app’s lifecycle phases come to an end, more needs to be done to ensure that they do not meltdown and expose users’ computers to attackers.
“Most of us replace our smartphone regularly, but the same cannot be said for our PCs,” said Avast President, Ondrej Vlcek.
“With the average age of a PC now reaching six years old, we need to be doing more to ensure our devices are not putting us at unnecessary risk.
“With the right amount of care, such as cleaning our hardware’s insides, using cleaners, optimisation and security products, PCs will be safe and reliable for even longer,” he added.