The software industry as a whole saw the number of complex and high-risk vulnerabilities drop in 2012, according to Microsoft.
Redmond said in its latest quarterly threats report that over the past year, vulnerabilities which posed the highest threat to users were down, while low and moderate-risk vulnerability disclosures saw an increase.
According to Microsoft, some 30.9 percent of disclosures in the second half of the year were for high-risk vulnerabilities, down from 38.0 percent over the second half of 2011. Microsoft classifies high-risk vulnerabilities as flaws which can be exploited for remote code execution attacks.
The drop in high-risk vulnerability disclosures comes despite an overall increase in vulnerabilities. Microsoft reported that overall 20 percent more flaws were reported in late 2012 versus the second part of 2011.
Low-risk vulnerabilities were up on the year, increasing 19 percent over 2011. Microsoft noted however that low-risk flaws remain a small piece of the overall picture, accounting for just 11 percent of all disclosures.
Medium-risk flaws remain the most common type of reported flaw. The figures held steady with a 58 percent share over the second half of 2012.
The company said that overall malware writers seem to be moving away from attacks on the OS and application level. Microsoft reported that OS vulnerabilities were down on the year with and that, for the first time, browser flaws were the second most-common type of vulnerability, accounting for 16.4 percent of disclosures, compared to a 12.8 percent share for vulnerability disclosures.
Both types of flaw, however, were dwarfed in overall share by reports of security flaws in individual applications. Microsoft said that some 70.7 percent of the flaws it logged were for third-party applications and components.
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