Linux platform distributions had the worst "response time" when it came to patching, taking on average three years from initial vulnerability to patch, according to security firm Trustwave.
"More responsibility falls onto security staff to stay on top of zero-day attacks," Trustwave says in a preview of its 2013 Global Security report, which collates data from around 450 data breach investigations it was engaged for in 2012.
"Software developers vary greatly in their ability to respond and patch zero-day vulnerabilities. In this study, the Linux platform had the worst response time, with almost three years on average from initial vulnerability to patch."
The company does not explain its methodology in the preview and CSO.com.au is awaiting further clarification from the vendor. Trustwave plans to release a full report later this month at the RSA conference.
The preview also suggests organisations are having more difficulty identifying a security breach on their own, taking on average 210 days to identify one themselves. That time lapse was up by 35 days on the average time it took organisations to "self-identify" in 2011.
Similar to last year, most victim organisations were notified of a breach by a third party, such as customers, law enforcement or a regulatory body, and 64 percent took 90 days to detect an intrusion. Trustwave notes that five percent took more than three years to identify their breach. Fourty-five percent of the 450 organisations in this year's study were from the retail sector.
The most common intrusion methods were SQL injection and remote access and Trustwave says the 40 variations of malware it identified during its investigations were attributed to just six criminal groups.
Malicious PDFs were also a preferred attack tool, accounting for 61 percent of all client site attacks it observed that targeted Adobe Reader. Blackhole, the most widespread web-based exploit kit last year, account for 70 percent of all client-side attacks serving up zero-day exploits.
While spam levels continued to slide in 2012 to 72 percent of all inbound email, Trustwave found that 10 percent were malicious.
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