Is malware getting past your company’s safeguards?

Data securityMany companies assume their IT infrastructure is safe if they install recognized antivirus and antimalware software.  Unfortunately, cyber criminals are both innovative and persistent, when one aspect of their fraudulent activity becomes blocked, they invariably seek out a new opportunity.  Information gathered by Bit9 and the Information Security Media Group, in the 2013 Cyber Security Study, suggests attacks are occurring with alarming frequency after hackers gain access through an actual hardware device.

Of the 250 companies that participated in the survey, nearly half (47%) were certain that they had been the victims of an online security breach within the last 12 months.  Further, 70% admitted that it was the endpoint of their IT network that made them most vulnerable to attack, such as the organization’s PCs.

These internet-based crimes had a range of reported effects, from financial losses, encountered by 19% of respondents, to employee downtime, affecting 33%.  Whether a threat results in a major issue or a minor inconvenience, the fact is that both executives and staff assume their firewall and software protection will prevent hackers from gaining a foothold.

However, some of the latest methods used may take you by surprise.  While your antivirus and antimalware software is busy blocking threats that originate online, it may let sneaky bugs picked up from USB devices slip past.  In the first quarter of 2013 alone, 1.7 million bugs that self-install upon connection with a host PC were discovered.  So it is advisable to only allow staff to use storage sticks that have been approved by your IT department, and to disable their auto-play feature.

Similarly, the use of BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) has made life easier for many employees, but brings with it a raft of security risks when it comes to computer protection.  Be sure to advise staff that when they are working on company business remotely, they need to password protect the data.  It is part of educating each person who has access to sensitive files about the dangers of cyber crime, and the part they can play in beating it.

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Most computer problems that turn into extended downtime and data loss could have been prevented.  Unfortunately, most people don’t realize that there were problems brewing until it’s too late, and then it’s an emergency that threatens your business.  Our 27 point problem prevention network audit will let you know where you stand.

Learn more about the author Bob Martin