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Four in 10 IT Execs Call Their Networks Insecure

Email viruses and Internet downloads considered to be the greatest threat to network security for SMBs

RALEIGH, N.C. -- Despite having anti-virus and anti-spam software as well as a firewall installed, four in 10 small and medium sized companies in the United States still do not believe their networks are secure, a new survey shows.

In a poll of 455 IT executives for U.S. SMBs, 42 percent said their networks were not secure, even though 96 percent and 93 percent of respondents respectively said they had anti-virus and a firewall installed. Eighty percent said they also used spam filtering. This may indicate that SMBs are starting to doubt the effectiveness of traditional perimeter security products in protecting them from other security threats, including data leakage and network breaches.

Conducted by eMediaUSA on behalf of GFI Software, an international developer of network security, content security and messaging software, 39 percent of survey respondents said email viruses are the greatest risk to network security, followed by internet downloads (22 percent) and hacker attempts (10 percent). Only 7 percent considered insider attacks and the threat of portable storage devices – such as USB sticks, CDs, floppies, smartphones, MP3 players, handhelds, iPods, digital cameras – to be the greatest risk.

The survey also reveals that 32 percent of the US companies surveyed had suffered a breach over the past 12 months mainly due to a virus attack (69 percent), followed by infected internet downloads (30 percent), and loss of hardware, e.g. laptops (24 percent). Only 2 percent reported a breach involving some form of fraud or identity threat.

Commenting on the results, Andre Muscat, GFI’s director of engineering, said, “Email viruses top the ‘greatest threat to network security’ list and this does not come as a surprise. It is one of the easier attack routes and this is confirmed by those respondents who reported a breach. While companies are aware of, and are focused on, tackling viruses and malware, they appear to be giving sparse attention to other equally dangerous threats such us data theft and leakage from endpoints such as connected USB sticks, iPods, and PDAs on the network.”

GFI Software Ltd.

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