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I still use version 1.7.5 and was wondering if it is less secure than the more up to date 1.8.6

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Considering how simple it is to upgrade, this question should be irrelevant. Have you tried my suggested process to upgrade from a potentially broken installation?

https://www.question2answer.org/qa/95112/database-error-whilst-trying-to-upgrade-q2a-from-version-to?show=95384#a95384

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Generally speaking: yes. It's practically always advisable to keep software up to date, because new versions fix known (potentially exploitable) bugs in older versions.

For more information you can review the version history. From a quick glance notable security improvements appear to be:

  • Security fix: prevent use of <embed> and <object> tags. (v1.8.4)
  • Reworked file cache to securely allow cache inside web root. (v1.8.0 beta 2)
  • Password security has been upgraded from sha1 to use PHP's password_hash function where available. (v1.8.0 beta 2)

You should also keep PHP, your webserver and your database updated, since those are part of the system's attack surface as well.

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