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Attacks/Breaches

Study: IT Execs Worried About Insider Threat

Annual Amplitude/VanDyke survey also shows that attackers are targeting SMBs more frequently

Insider activity is the cause of a growing number of network intrusions, according to a study published Tuesday.

The study of IT managers and network administrators, which has been conducted annually by Amplitude Research on behalf of VanDyke Software, shows a growing concern about insider threats, particularly unauthorized access by current and former employees.

Of the many reasons cited for network intrusions, more than half could be attributed to internal issues: lack of adequate security policies (17 percent); employee negligence (12 percent); unauthorized access by current or future employees (11 percent); employee Web usage (6 percent); and lack of software updates (6 percent). Concerns about unauthorized access nearly doubled from last year's study.

Hacker/network attacks accounted for only 14 percent of intrusions; viruses, malware, and spyware were 10 percent.

Small and midsize businesses (SMBs) also are becoming more frequent targets of attacks, according to the study. Half of the SMBs in the 2011 survey said they have experienced an intrusion of their user machines, office network, and/or servers, versus 36 percent in 2005. There was a significant decline among large companies reporting a successful intrusion -- from 67 percent in 2010 to 49 percent in 2011. In the previous year's study, a significant increase of intrusions among large companies was reported, jumping from 41 percent in 2009 to 67 percent in 2010.

Outsourcing continues to be a major strategy for many corporations, but IT pros are split as to whether outsourcing creates security issues. Thirty-six percent said outsourcing has had a positive impact on their organizations' network security; another 36 percent said it has had a negative impact. Twenty-eight percent felt there was no impact.

"Many of those who felt there was a negative impact described a feeling of uncertainty or concern about the potential network security risk involved in outsourcing technology jobs offshore," said Steve Birnkrant, CEO of Amplitude Research. "In contrast, many of those who felt there was a positive impact explained that outsourcing technology jobs offshore has worked well for their organization and/or there were cost savings."

Have a comment on this story? Please click "Comment" below. If you'd like to contact Dark Reading's editors directly, send us a message. Tim Wilson is Editor in Chief and co-founder of Dark Reading.com, UBM Tech's online community for information security professionals. He is responsible for managing the site, assigning and editing content, and writing breaking news stories. Wilson has been recognized as one ... View Full Bio

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