Looking Beyond OS Patches: What’s Your Plan for the Unpatched Third-Party Apps?

Looking Beyond OS Patches: What’s Your Plan for the Unpatched Third-Party Apps?

You might be well ahead of your peers in keeping your patching cadence for major applications like Microsoft, Linux, or Mac in pace with the latest updates, but are you also patching third-party applications at the same pace? In case the answer is no, you could open up your enterprise to security compromises that could allow attackers access to your network and result in potential financial and reputation loss.

Patching a third-party application offers its own set of unique challenges to the IT Administration teams. While this could be due to the lack of the right security tool or limited visibility owing to siloed views across tools and applications, neglecting third-party patching, whatever the reason, can have a lasting negative impact on your security posture. Let’s delve deeper.

Events of third-party application vulnerability exploits

Vulnerable third-party applications could compromise your organizations’ security and open you up to business risks.

Here’s a primer on a few recent third-party application vulnerability exploits: –

  1. Delta Charlie

Delta Charlie, a malware in a botnet form, affected systems with installed Adobe Flash player. The malware was able to self-download, add unwanted binaries, and had the capabilities of changing the configuration settings.

Delta Charlie resulted in a complete network shut down with a successful Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack. The DDoS attack was due to the exploitation of Adobe Flash Player and 19.x Integration Overflow vulnerability. The exploitation could have been avoided if the third-party application had been patched and secured in time.

  1. Adobe Flash Player Remote Code Execution

Another vulnerability found in Adobe Flash Player version allowed malicious remote code execution in Mac, Windows, Linux, and Chrome operating systems. This vulnerability was exploited by flash content code embedded in the official document, and it spread via email. Again, this attack was avoidable by patching it in time. While the list goes on, only a few examples are outlined here, in the interest of brevity.

  1. Magecart

Magecart synonyms group exploited several third-party vulnerabilities in 2019 to steal several payment details from more than 20,000 online websites. Many organizations like Smith & Wesson were among the top victims.

Failing to patch third-party applications affects your security posture

Let’s say a third-party application like a PDF reader is installed on a device by a user. The IT team may not be aware that such an application is installed in a device unless they have it documented somewhere. When new vulnerabilities are disclosed, this mismanagement could open the gates for attackers to exploit that vulnerability and potentially compromise sensitive business information.

IT teams need to constantly monitor the installed third-party applications for new patches. All existing third-party applications should be detected and updated even if they are not currently in use.

Why third-party applications patching is usually neglected

There might be various reasons keeping IT admins from patching the third-party applications in their software inventory. The most common reasons are:

  1. Falsely assuming third-party applications do not pose equal risks as OS patches
  2. Keeping track of each vendor-wise updates for multiple third-party applications
  3. Manual downloads and deployments for each application
  4. Separate tools and training to patch third-party applications
  5. Difficulty in assessing the risk levels and prioritizing patches

Any unpatched third-party applications can reward threat actors with an opportunity to breach the security of the organization.

Your network is a complex web with hundreds of third-party applications. Any vulnerable applications that have slipped under your security radar could open up your endpoints to cyber-attack.

SanerNow’s approach to third-party applications patching

SanerNow Patch Management offers end-to-end automated patching for all major OS platforms like Windows, MAC, and Linux. Along with this, it provides an extensive third-party patch repository of 190+ apps to simplify the patching of third-party applications.

In-built and up-to-date third-party repository

SecPod’s security research team continuously checks for new third-party vendor updates, tests the available patches, and adds those patches to SanerNow’s patch repository within 24-48 hours.

Simple and effective automation

SanerNow’s centralized console saves a lot of time and effort spent on manual patching of third-party applications. It automates the end-to-end process of patching from the scanning of missing patches, prioritizing them based on their severity, downloading updates from vendor sites to deployment on client computers.

Sign-up for a free personalized demo with us. You’ll get to know the piece of your patch management puzzle that’s been missing all along.

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