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Endpoints Pose Increasing Threats To Enterprises, Studies Say

Eighty percent of security pros in Ponemon survey say laptops and mobile devices pose serious threat; PandaLabs says more than half of PCs in China are infected
Endpoint security is increasingly becoming the weakest link in the enterprise security chain, according to two reports published Monday.

A study conducted by Ponemon Institute and sponsored by Lumension states that 80 percent of IT and security professionals believe that laptops and other mobile data-bearing devices pose a significant security risk to their organizations' networks.

Yet only 13 percent stated that their organizations use stricter security standards for personal rather than for corporate-owned devices -- and 29 percent reported that their organizations have no security strategy for employee-owned devices at all, Ponemon says.

"These figures are staggering when compared to the 2010 survey," the report says. "At that time, only nine percent of respondents said mobile devices were a rising threat. This year, 73 percent rank mobile as one of the greatest risks within the IT environment."

A separate third-quarter threat study published by PandaLabsindicates that nearly one-third (31.6 percent) of PCs across the globe are already infected with malware. China and South Korea lead the way -- more than half of the endpoints in those two countries are infected, the study says.

Trojan horses account for most of the malware, comprising nearly 79 percent of the infections during the third quarter, PandaLabs says.

"It is obvious that malware writers have standardized their infection techniques, as what we have seen in Q3 is a continuation of the trends we saw over the first half of the year," said Luis Corrons, technical director of PandaLabs. "Trojans once again have accounted for almost 80 percent of infections, and continue to be the preferred category for cyber-criminals to carry out information theft. All this confirms cyber-crooks' first objective: to make money from their creations."

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