?By sdnadmin | July 14, 2010 Recent research from security firm Secunia found third-party software was increasingly responsible for many of the vulnerabilities seen during the first half of 2010. While mainstream software providers such as Microsoft encountered its fair share of bugs and issues requiring service updates and patches during the year, third-party software bugs comprised a significant number of the increasing amount seen during 2010s first six months. This is troubling as few third-party software vendors provide automated security updates, especially with the frequency that Microsoft does. This then puts the software users themselves in charge of consistently finding updates and then manually downloading and installing them. Said research analyst director at Secunia Stefan Frei, "we were astonished to see the extent of the vulnerabilities in third-party software. The jump in vulnerabilities was almost exclusively due to third-party applications, not Microsofts." By using some of its bug tracking technology, Secunia was able to follow and analyze the issues plaguing software during the first half of 2010. The firm conducted research by looking at the most common applications on PCs, analyzing what vulnerabilities arose during the last six months and then estimated this years total and compared it with previous years totals. Said Frei this analysis clearly identifies vulnerabilities from third-party programs to be almost exclusively responsible for the increasing [vulnerability count] trend observed since 2007. Data from the first half of 2010 shows that third-party program vulnerabilities are the primary risk factor for typical end-user PCs." The research found Windows XP and Vista vulnerabilities will likely increase by 31 and 34 percent, respectively, from 2009. While these numbers dont provide comfort, they certainly dont compare to the exponential rise in third-party bugs, which are expected to jump 92 percent in 2010, nearly doubling last years total. Furthermore, of the vulnerabilities facing Windows XP users, 79 percent are attributable to third-party, non-Microsoft software. Reports from various antivirus software vendors have found an increased number of attacks on Adobes Reader program, which is incredibly popular and utilized by many Windows users. Thus, cyber criminals have found avenues to attack to enter Windows OS and have done so increasingly. According to one vendor, Reader exploits rose 65 percent during 2010s first quarter compared to 2009 as a whole. With the number of bugs unlikely to decrease, Frei stated users need to readily install patches and thereby reduce the window of opportunity for criminals. Third-party software vendors on the other hand must continue to strengthen their software development to avoid such bug issues. A study conducted several years back found that security flaws directly affect a software companys stock, decreasing as much as 0.6 percent on a day when flaws are discovered. Rachel Zee is a freelance writer for Software Development News. Her software development coverage includes the bug and issue tracker space.