These are the most vulnerable apps you need to make sure are updated

Another report has emerged highlighting the most common vulnerable apps, and looking at the perils of outdated software, with perhaps the biggest danger being just how many PC users are affected by programs which haven’t been fully updated.

Avast’s PC Trends report found that no less than 52% of the most popular apps running on 116 million Windows computers worldwide were not updated to the latest version.

As for the most prevalent out-of-date programs discovered – the ones you should really check to make sure they have been fully updated – the list was topped by Oracle’s Java, Adobe’s Flash Player (ActiveX), and in third place, Foxit Reader.

Both of those top two offenders are regularly linked to critical vulnerabilities and security holes.

To be specific, more than 24 million PCs were found to be running outdated Java Runtime 6 and 7 versions, and while 26 million users were on the latest version, the vast majority of them – over 70% – hadn’t updated with the very latest patch.

As for Flash Player (ActiveX plugin), a staggering 99% of users had failed to update this for Internet Explorer, and 92% of Foxit Reader users were using an out-of-date version of the software.

The rest of the top 10 after those three were as follows: GOM Media Player, Nitro Pro, WinZip, DivX, Adobe Shockwave Player, 7-Zip and Firefox. Yes, a browser sneaked in at the end there.

Polished Chrome

As for the top-ranked app, which had been updated to the very latest version – that was a browser as well: Google’s Chrome, which was bang-up-to-date in 88% of cases, with Opera not far behind on 84%.

Ondrej Vlcek, CTO, GM and EVP Consumer Business at Avast, commented: “Running outdated programs leaves PC users susceptible to attacks from savvy hackers exploiting easy-to-find or known vulnerabilities. The cause of people using outdated software may be that updates don’t install properly or they postpone or forget to update even when prompted.”

It’s definitely worth paying close attention to software (and OS) updates, particularly where the most common vulnerable apps we’ve highlighted above are concerned.

The research also pointed to the large numbers of people out there still running Windows XP,  which is an insecure operating system because it’s no longer supported by Microsoft’s security patches.

The OS is still used by around 6.5 million folks out there, or 6% of the computers which were part of the Avast survey. The security firm found that 48% of users were running Windows 7, followed by 30% on Windows 10. As for Windows 8/8.1, that was in use on just over 13% of PCs.

  • Avoid these apps altogether by switching to a MacBook Air

Darren is a freelancer writing news and features for TechRadar (and occasionally T3) across a broad range of computing topics including CPUs, GPUs, various other hardware, VPNs, antivirus and more. He has written about tech for the best part of three decades, and writes books in his spare time (his debut novel - 'I Know What You Did Last Supper' - was published by Hachette UK in 2013).