Zero-day defenses are a good reason why you need the latest version of Windows 10

Image credit: Microsoft (Image credit: Microsoft)

A security expert at Microsoft has revealed some stats which show that more often than not, zero-day exploits fail to work against the very latest version of Windows.

Or to look at it another way, if you aren’t running the latest version of Microsoft’s operating system, you’re more likely to fall prey to fresh zero-days which have just been sprung on the net.

Matt Miller, who works as a security engineer with the Microsoft Security Response Center, found that only 38% of zero-day attacks worked against the latest version of Windows (looking historically at such vulnerabilities which have popped up since 2015, through to 2019).

The majority of attacks, then, only work against those who are running older versions of Windows, due to the simple fact that Microsoft keeps adding protection against possible exploits as it goes along.

As ZDNet reports, in almost 67% of cases, Miller noted that the zero-days failed to work due to defensive measures added by Microsoft, and of course those not on the very latest version don’t have these countermeasures.

Strong argument

This isn’t a huge surprise, as it’s a fairly well-known fact that you’re going to get the best security by running the newest incarnation of Windows (and always ensuring you are fully up-to-date with the latest monthly security patches, too).

Although the amount of zero-days which are confounded by running the latest version is surprisingly high (going by Miller’s observations), this obviously makes a strong argument for moving to the newest version of Windows 10 as soon as it’s released – or at least as soon as it’s available to your PC.

The flipside of moving quickly is that if there are any hardware or software compatibility issues with the new update, you might get hit with these – which is why some folks choose to wait for at least a little bit of time before updating to a new version, just to let early adopters test the waters.

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).