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Elevation of Privilege the Biggest Microsoft Vulnerability in 2021

by Helen J. Wolf
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BeyondTrust has released its Microsoft Vulnerabilities Report for 2022, which finds the Elevation of Privilege as the top vulnerability category for the second year.

BeyondTrust publishes The Microsoft Vulnerabilities Report annually, and it is now in its ninth edition.

The report analyzes data from security bulletins issued by Microsoft in the past year.

The Microsoft Vulnerabilities Report for 2022 includes the latest annual breakdown of Microsoft vulnerabilities by category and product and a six-year trend analysis, which provides a holistic understanding of the evolving threat landscape.

The Common Vulnerability Scoring System (CVSS) provides a way to capture key characteristics of a vulnerability and produces a numerical score representing the severity level of exposure, from 0 to 10.

Elevation of Privilege the Biggest Microsoft Vulnerability in 2021

Elevation of privilege accounted for 49% of all vulnerabilities in 2021, with BeyondTrust’s report also showing that 35 of the 326 remote code execution vulnerabilities reported in 2021 had a CVSS score of 9.0 or higher.

In 2021, however, critical Microsoft vulnerabilities fell by a total of 47%, the lowest since the start of the report.

“Microsoft’s move to the Common Vulnerability Scoring System now makes it easier to benchmark vulnerabilities against third-party applications using affected services,” said BeyondTrust chief security officer Morey Haber.

“However, this is a trade-off due to the loss of visibility to determine the impact of admin privileges on critical vulnerabilities.

“What is clear is the ongoing risk of exorbitant privilege.

“With the growing risk of privileged attack vectors caused by cloud deployments, removing administrative privileges remains critical in reducing an organization’s risk surface.

“This can be achieved by adopting a low-privilege strategy and enabling zero-trust architectures across an environment.”

Microsoft groups vulnerabilities that apply to one or more of its products into the following main categories:

Remote Code Execution Elevation of Privilege Security Feature Tamper Circumvention Information Disclosure Denial of Service Spoofing

BeyondTrust says this year’s findings will help organizations better understand and address risks within the Microsoft ecosystem.

The company adds that most of the high-impact vulnerabilities described in the report highlight the risks of on-premises technology.

It indicates that migrating to the cloud can improve an organization’s security.

In addition, vulnerabilities in IE and Edge were at a record high of 349 in 2021, about four times higher than in 2020.

Organizations mucontinueuee to carefully manage administrative privileges to protect against vulnerabilities in Microsoft’s software,” said Russell Smith, editor-in-chief of Petri IT Knowledgebase.

“I’ve always been a big believer in limiting access to administrator privileges. But despite the importance of working with standard user privileges to protect systems and data, it is still impossible to manage natively in Windows today.

“Organizations need to manage privileged access on endpoints flexibly and securely to reduce business risks and enable employees to do their jobs.”

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