A study conducted by the Swiss Institute of Technology, Google and IBM has discovered that around 600 million users have not updated their browsers to the latest available versions.
This figure accounts for around half the entire online population.
As everyone should know, failing to apply patches and other updates immediately is like opening the door for cyber criminals to walk in.
It is common practice for browsers to be ‘patched’ on a regular basis in order to block flaws as they are discovered, or to block security holes that criminals have learned to exploit.
The authors of the report have recommended that browsers should carry some sort of ‘best before’ date, such as seen on food products, in order to encourage users to update their browsers on a timely basis.
Firefox Best Updated Browser
The study determined that clever people, like me, who use Firefox tend to use the newest versions of their browser.
Less savvy user, including those who still surf the net with Internet Explorer, are the least likely group to run updates and patches.
Specifically, the most recent browser versions were being used by –
- 83% of Firefox users
- 65% of Safari users
- 56% of Opera users
- 47% of Internet Explorer users
Not having the latest patches or browser version was only part of the problem however.
Plug-ins are small programs that users can download in order to extend the features and functionality of some browsers.
Out of date, or otherwise vulnerable plugins, were also a cause for concern as hackers and other criminals quickly learn how to exploit many of them.
Again, the study concluded that many users were not updating to the latest versions for their plug-ins quickly enough.
Firefox was mentioned as being the browser with the most efficient updating features, both for it’s core options and also for the available plug-ins.