Research Reveals Microsoft Vulnerabilities More Than Doubled Since 2013

Report finds 80% of Critical vulnerabilities in the past year could be mitigated by removing admin rights

MANCHESTER, England--()--Today, Avecto issued its annual Microsoft Vulnerabilities Report Based on analysis of all disclosed Microsoft vulnerabilities in 2017, Avecto’s fifth annual report shows a significant rise in the number of reported vulnerabilities. Last year, 685 vulnerabilities were found versus 325 vulnerabilities that were found in 2013. The report also provides insight into trends in Microsoft vulnerabilities over the past five years.

The removal of admin rights could mitigate 80% of all Critical Microsoft vulnerabilities reported in 2017. Nearly all (95%) of Critical vulnerabilities in Microsoft browsers could be mitigated by the removal of admin rights.

Despite being widely regarded as the most secure Windows operating system, the number of Critical vulnerabilities in Windows 10 rose by 64% in 2017 compared to the previous year.

587 vulnerabilities were reported across Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8.1/RT 8.1 and Windows 10 operating systems in 2017. This is a record high – increasing by 132% over a five-year period. Removing admin rights would mitigate 60% of Critical vulnerabilities in Microsoft Office products (Excel, Word, PowerPoint, Visio, Publisher and others).

“One hundred percent security cannot be guaranteed in the cyber world,” said Dr. Eric Cole, founder and CEO of Secure Anchor Consulting. “No matter how many safeguards you put in place, there will always be some risk. Prevention techniques like application whitelisting, removing admin access and adopting the principles of least privilege go a long way toward protecting individual users’ machines and reducing inroads to the network while not severely restricting user functionality.”

A Five-year Analysis of Windows Vulnerabilities

Analyzing Windows vulnerabilities over the last five years, the most significant trends include:

  • The number of reported vulnerabilities has risen 111% since 2013.
  • Number of Critical vulnerabilities has risen 60% in the same period.
  • There has been an 89% increase in Microsoft Office vulnerabilities and a 98% increase in Microsoft browser vulnerabilities (though this is in part due to the inclusion of Microsoft Edge from 2016 onwards).
  • Since the 2013 report, 2017 shows the largest year-on-year increase of vulnerabilities by volume, with 451 vulnerabilities reported in 2016 compared to 685 in 2017.

“There's no mistaking the rise in Critical vulnerabilities over the past five years, a trend which cannot be ignored,” said Kenneth Holley, founder and CEO at Information Systems Integration. “While a proactive patching protocol is important, it's only a portion of a well-rounded cybersecurity posture. We know with certainty that removal of administrative rights is one of the leading mitigating factors in keeping our networks and systems safe in the face of accelerating vulnerability disclosures.”

“Despite the continued rise in vulnerabilities impacting Microsoft software, there are actions that enterprises can take to ensure that they're protected without sacrificing productivity,” said Mark Austin, co-founder and CEO of Avecto. “The challenges organizations face to improve security have not changed, yet many are still unaware that by simply removing admin rights, the risk of so many threats can be mitigated.”

  • Download the full report here
  • Register for Avecto’s webinar here on March 15, 2018: ‘Hackcess Denied: Remove Admin Rights, Remove the Keys,’ presented by Sami Laiho, Microsoft MVP and ethical hacker

About Avecto

Headquartered in Manchester, with offices in Boston and Frankfurt, Avecto is a global software company that specializes in privilege management. Since 2008, Avecto has enabled over 8 million users to successfully work without admin rights, allowing the world’s biggest brands to strike the balance between security and user productivity.

Defendpoint combines privilege management and application control technology in a single lightweight agent for Windows, macOS, and even in the data center. This scalable solution allows global organizations to achieve compliance, gain operational efficiency and stop internal and external attacks.

Avecto’s innovative and entrepreneurial culture resulted in the company being recognized as one of the UK’s most inspiring businesses in 2017 according to the London Stock Exchange Group and placing in The Sunday Times Best Small Companies to Work For list last year.


PAN Communications
Kate Connors, 617-502-4300


PAN Communications
Kate Connors, 617-502-4300