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RiskIQ highlights website security risks for UK’s top companies as end of life IIS 6.0 deadline looms


With days to go before Microsoft Windows Server 2003 support ends, IIS 6.0 users are heading towards new security dangers.

LONDON, UK, July 9, 2015 – Research from RiskIQ, the enterprise digital footprint security specialist, has discovered that 24 of the top 30 FTSE-listed companies in the UK are running web servers that will be out of support in less than a week, posing a potential security risk to both them and the public.

On July 14th, Microsoft ends support for its popular Windows Server 2003 product, which includes its Internet Information Services (IIS) 6.0 web server and Small Business Server 2003. This move means these software versions will no longer receive critical security updates or patches.

RiskIQ’s research discovered that amongst the top 30 FTSE companies, there were more than 73,000 instances of web servers in use. Microsoft’s IIS 6.0, used for web hosting and media streaming, was the 6th most popular server and used more than 2,675 times. Whilst some organisations run IIS 6.0 on forgotten networks or as test servers, the research worryingly found it was also used to host high profile websites of some of the largest FTSE companies in the UK.

In comparison, 22 of the top 30 DAX companies in Germany also face the same risks from using outdated technology but are much further ahead in replacing their ageing infrastructure; only 650 instances of IIS 6.0 were found in RiskIQ’s study of DAX organisations, a quarter of the total found in comparable FTSE companies.

Ben Harknett, RiskIQ Managing Director EMEA, says: “Hackers bypass traditional defence in-depth measures by finding and compromising web sites, based on exploits in unsupported software versions. Due to the lack of availability of critical security updates for IIS 6.0 beyond 14th July, hackers will be able to more easily exploit its security weaknesses, accessing systems and using company websites to serve malware to unsuspecting users. Companies are running the risk of operating a webserver as a ticking time bomb of vulnerabilities and reliability issues after that date.”

Users of IIS 6.0 have a handful of days before support fully ends. But RiskIQ’s research also found 417 instances of the top FTSE companies still using the outdated IIS 5.0, a product which hasn’t been supported by Microsoft for over a year.

“People expect that when they access a website of a reputable organisation it will be a safe, secure experience, no matter where they navigate to within the site. Organisations who continue to run IIS 6.0 beyond the 14th July support date run the risk that they will no longer be delivering the same secure experience.

“For any organisation it’s vital to understand how digital assets are hosted. At RiskIQ we work with organisations all over the globe to help them uncover what digital assets they have. Using this knowledge, organisations can better understand where the security weaknesses within those assets are, such as instances of IIS 6.0, and therefore take suitable action to replace obsolete web servers.” Harknett concluded.

About the research
RiskIQ’s global crawling infrastructure was used to inspect the internet servers used by the top 30 FTSE organisations and the top 30 DAX organisations.

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About RiskIQ
RiskIQ provides organizations the visibility and intelligence they need to secure their known and unknown Enterprise Digital Footprint. Using a global proxy network and virtual user technology, RiskIQ continuously discovers and creates an inventory of documented and undocumented web assets, and scans them for copycat mobile apps, drive-by malware and malvertisements. Leading financial institutions, insurance providers and consumer as well as B2B brands use RiskIQ to protect their web assets and users from security threats and fraud. RiskIQ is headquartered in San Francisco and backed by growth equity firms Summit Partners and Battery Ventures. To learn more about RiskIQ, visit

Media Contact:
Gemma Smith
Atomic PR for RiskIQ
+44(0)207 025 7507