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Symantec Global internet Security threat report

this metric will examine the window of exposure for the following Web browsers:92

  • Apple Safari

  • Google Chrome

  • Microsoft internet Explorer

  • Mozilla Firefox

  • Opera

in 2009, the average window of exposure for Safari was 13 days, based on a sample set of 78 patched vulnerabilities (figure 8). it should be noted that there are now full versions of Safari for both Macintosh® and Windows. the window of exposure for Safari in 2008 was nine days, based on a sample set of 31 patched vulnerabilities. the maximum time for Apple to patch a Safari vulnerability in 2009 was 145 days. the maximum time to release a patch in 2008 was 156 days.

in 2009, there were a number of vulnerabilities targeting cross-browser JavaScript, HtML, and graphics rendering engines. this accounts for the increase in the window of exposure because, in some cases, Apple released patches for these vulnerabilities later than other patches. this could reflect the difficulty of testing and patching these vulnerabilities. Other browser vendors were similarly affected because many browsers are now using third-party and/or open-source engines and components. While browsers have been prone to similar attacks in the past because they have had to implement the same features as competitors, the use of shared components puts multiple vendors at risk when a vulnerability is discovered in an affected component.

Period

13

<1

2009

2

<1 <1

9

Safari Internet Explorer Chrome Opera Firefox

2008

7

3

1

<1

  • 0

    2

4

6

8

10

12

14

Average time in days

Figure 8. Window of exposure for Web browsers Source: Symantec

92

it should be noted that this metric examines all versions of each browser; vulnerabilities affecting multiple versions of a browser are counted as a single vulnerability.

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