Your security problem isn't Microsoft, it's everyone else
I suppose we sort of already knew this. Ever since Microsoft turned on the firewall by default back in XP SP1, Windows is safer to use and improves with each new version. Perfect? Far from it, but the imperfections are more about what you add than what Microsoft provides. Secunia reports that the vast majority of problems experienced by Windows users these days are caused by third-party software.
In a new report Secunia tells us: "In 2012, 86 percent of the vulnerabilities affecting the Top-50 programs in the representative portfolio, infected third-party programs. This means that only 14 percent of vulnerabilities present in the Top-50 programs on the computers of the PSI users stem from Operating Systems and Microsoft programs. The 86 percent is a substantial increase from the previous year -- 2011 -- when vulnerabilities in third-party software represented 78 percent". The number of third-party vulnerabilities is up from 57 percent six years ago.
Unsurprisingly, Oracle's Java leads the way, followed by Adobe Reader. Microsoft is not entirely blameless, though, because Silverlight is surprisingly high on the list as well.
The report goes on to claim that the number of flaws targeting Windows users rose 5.5 percent last year. Eighty percent of those vulnerabilities had patches available, which puts part of the blame on the end user.
This is mostly good news for Microsoft. Though Silverlight needs work, the company is largely doing a much better job of protecting its customers, and Windows 8 is the best example so far. Now if only the company could better educate the end-user the internet would become a much safer world.