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Most Enterprises Face Increased Malware Risk From Social Media

Fifty-two percent of companies say use of sites such as Facebook has caused more infections
Enterprises are allowing employees to log onto social networks from the workplace, but they might be paying a price to offer the privilege, according to a study published this week.

The study, conducted by the Ponemon Institute and sponsored by Websense, assessed the social-media readiness and risk profile of more than 4,000 IT and IT security practitioners around the globe.

Most respondents agreed that the use of social media in the workplace is important to achieving business objectives, but they also believed that these tools put their organizations at risk. According to the study data, these fears could be justified.

Malware attacks have increased because of social-media usage, the study says. Fifty-two percent of organizations in the study said they have experienced an increase in malware attacks as a result of employees’ use of social media.

This increase in social-media attacks is catching many organizations off-guard, according to Ponemon. Only 29 percent of respondents said their organizations have the necessary social-media security controls.

Organizations are also prioritizing productivity and bandwidth over security, the study says. The top two negative consequences of an increase in social media were identified as diminished productivity (89 percent) and reduced IT bandwidth (77 percent).

"This survey is the first time I’ve seen a number put to the increase in malware specifically due to social media," says Tom Clare, senior director of product marketing at Websense, in his blog. "We know from our Security Labs alerts how frequently the latest in scams and attacks over the social web occur. I think it’s only a matter of time before that accelerates, as social media is further combined with social engineering and the bad guys start pulling data out from the organization through the open door of social media."

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