Firefox, iTunes, Skype Top Most Dangerous List

Security firm Bit9 calls out 15 applications--frequently downloaded but usually unapproved by enterprises--that have at least one critical vulnerability.
Updated June 27, 2006.

Firefox, iTunes, and Skype were the top 3 applications in a list with the most security vulnerabilities, a Cambridge, Mass.-based security company said this week.

The list from Bit9 calls out applications frequently downloaded by individuals (and thus perhaps not sanctioned by the enterprise) which have at least one critical vulnerability, and that rely on the end user, not the corporate IT department, to manually patch or upgrade to fix bugs.

"These popular software applications are frequently downloaded to corporate desktops and can present serious risks for enterprise computing environments," said Todd Brennan, the co-founder and chief technology officer at Bit9, in a statement. "Understanding what software is actually running in your organization across your entire desktop environment is the first step in regaining application control and protecting your corporate infrastructure."

Firefox 1.0.7 -- which has been patched (and so superseded) by 1.0.8, not to mention Firefox 1.5 -- took the top honors with at least five vulnerabilities in the CVE (Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures) database. The Apple iTunes 6.02 and QuickTime 7.0.3 twosome took second.

The rest of the list ran as:

3. Skype 1.4
4. Adobe Acrobat Reader 7.02, 6.03
5. Sun Java Run-Time Environment (JRE) 50, Update 3, JRE 1.4.2_.08
6. Macromedia Flash 7
7. AOL Instant Messenger 5.5
8. Microsoft Windows/MSN Messenger 5.0
9. Yahoo Instant Messenger 6.0
10. Sony/First4 Internet DRM rootkit and uninstaller
11. Kazaa 2.0.2
12. RealPlayer 10
15. ICQ 2003a

Most of those on the list can be patched or updated, but no fixes exist for Yahoo Instant Messenger, Sony, Kazaa, or ICQ, Bit9 said in its write-up of application vulnerabilities (PDF file).

Bit9 recommended that companies run an audit to determine what software is on their systems, decide which applications should be blocked or banned, and then bar those programs so only "approved, appropriately patched software" run on the enterprise network.

Bit9's original list had included BitDefender 9 and WinZip 8.1 SR-1, an error it acknowledged when the former disputed the findings. According to a BitDefender spokesperson, Bit9 had sent a letter apologizing for the mistake.

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Brian T. Horowitz, Contributing Reporter
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