#BeCyberSmart – Unpatched Software

Unpatched and out of date software opens an organization’s network up to a variety of vulnerabilities.  Threat actors are able to target software with known vulnerabilities to test an organization’s patch management strategy and exploit vulnerabilities that have not been addressed.  With unpatched software, threat actors can exploit vulnerabilities that the patches are looking to remediate.


Home Depot

In 2014, Home Depot fell victim to its largest data breach in company history and it was not a major surprise to many of its security experts.  In fact, many former employees had been warning the home improvement chain for years that with their current security practices, they remained an easy target for hackers.  In the years leading up to the data breach that compromised 56 million of its customer’s credit card numbers, Home Depot had been leveraging outdated software for protection.  Their inability to patch software that they heavily relied on was the ultimate culprit to the organization’s detrimental breach.


Dating as far back as 2014, Marriott fell victim to its largest data breach in history, compromising the data of up to 500 million guests.  The breach, which was not detected in 2018, included the exfiltration of customer data including credit cards, addresses and passport numbers of many guests.  It is believed by many that the root cause of the breach was due to unpatched software.


In May of 2017, a global epidemic took place in the world of cybersecurity.  WannaCry, a ransomware worm that attacked Window PCs, took organizations by storm when the malware spread from PC to PC across the network.  Prior to the exploitation of the vulnerability, Microsoft had released a patch to address the threat but as seen by the epidemic response to the weaponization, organizations were not quick enough to patch before the exploitation occurred.  This ransomware is said to have affected over 200,000 computers in over 150 countries.

Protect Against Unpatched Software

Simply put, the best solution to protect against unpatched software is to patch your software.  CISA has explicitly stated on many occasions that, “Foreign cyber actors continue to exploit publicly known — and often dated — software vulnerabilities against broad target sets, including public and private sector organizations. Exploitation of these vulnerabilities often requires fewer resources as compared with zero-day exploits for which no patches are available.”  In this day and age, lack of patching comes from either an overwhelmed security team or the lack of a sufficient patching plan.  Patching plans need to prioritize risks.  It is understood that a security team cannot patch all applications at the exact moment for which a patch is released.  As a result, it is imperative for organizations to include a risk prioritization as part of their patching plan.  Another imperative part of your patching plan must be to keep an updated inventory of your network and all the applications running on it so that the security team can have an accurate inventory to conduct patching on.

Conceal’s Solution to Unpatched Software

While Conceal cannot patch your unpatched software for you, our solution can maximize security efforts to minimize the damage of threat actors exploiting known vulnerabilities of web applications.  By obscuring a user’s critical identity and enhancing safety, confidentiality, and performance on the web, Conceal is able to address privacy and security needs so your organization can focus on other aspects of your security program, such as patch management.