Patch your software - it'll help secure the Net

Monday, 4 August 2003, 10:15 AM EST

When a security researcher or vendor first releases information about a software vulnerability, the clock starts ticking. How long will it be until a malicious user takes advantage of it?

According to Gerhard Eschelbeck, CTO of computer security company Qualys, not very long. He says that, for about 80 percent of publicly known vulnerabilities, exploit code (such as a worm or virus) appears within 60 days of their announcement.

This information was presented by Eschelbeck at last week's Black Hat USA 2003 conference in Las Vegas, as part of his Law of Vulnerability project. The project is the result of about a year's worth of analysis of the company's extensive vulnerability database.

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