Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.


11:27 PM
George V. Hulme
George V. Hulme

Failing The Basics Will Get You Hacked

Information security firm Sophos evaluated 580 PCs over a 40-day period and found businesses of all sizes can't tackle even the most basic things when it comes to IT security.

Information security firm Sophos evaluated 580 PCs over a 40-day period and found businesses of all sizes can't tackle even the most basic things when it comes to IT security.While examining nearly 600 PCs during little more than a one-month period isn't a very large sampling, it's big enough for a taste of what's out there. And it's certainly not sweet.

The Sophos Endpoint Assessment Test gives systems a basic evaluation for things like missing patches, the state of client firewalls, and other security tests.

The bottom line: 81% of the endpoints failed one or more of those fundamental checks. That's fairly bad news considering that any of those conditions -- outdated patch level, firewall disabled, or out-of-date AV signatures -- can lead to a significant breach. But this test must have been targeting those unsophisticated SMBs, you say, and that's what tainted the results. Not so. Here's the demographic run down:

39% of the end users were part of an organization with fewer than 100 users

36% were part of an organization size between 100 and 1,000 users

25% were from organizations larger than 1,000 users

And the evaluation ran in fairly IT savvy geographies, too:

North America represented 39% of the sample base, while the United Kingdom made up 36%, and Australia and Germany were 11% and 9%, respectively (5% being other countries).

Said Bill Emerick, VP of product management for network access control at Sophos: "We're holding up to the light an aspect of endpoint security that has long been evaded by IT departments -- the inability to properly assess and control baseline endpoint security requirements such as updated patches, enabled firewalls, and current anti-malware signatures updates. Ultimately, machines that fail such a test represent the low-hanging fruit for cybercriminals and a real danger to their corporate networks."

And that's one of the most accurate quotes I've read in a press release in a long time.

This blog was updated at 9:45 a.m. to correct a quote.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Oldest First  |  Newest First  |  Threaded View
Ransomware Is Not the Problem
Adam Shostack, Consultant, Entrepreneur, Technologist, Game Designer,  6/9/2021
How Can I Test the Security of My Home-Office Employees' Routers?
John Bock, Senior Research Scientist,  6/7/2021
New Ransomware Group Claiming Connection to REvil Gang Surfaces
Jai Vijayan, Contributing Writer,  6/10/2021
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Cartoon Contest
Write a Caption, Win an Amazon Gift Card! Click Here
Latest Comment: Google's new See No Evil policy......
Current Issue
The State of Cybersecurity Incident Response
In this report learn how enterprises are building their incident response teams and processes, how they research potential compromises, how they respond to new breaches, and what tools and processes they use to remediate problems and improve their cyber defenses for the future.
Flash Poll
How Enterprises are Developing Secure Applications
How Enterprises are Developing Secure Applications
Recent breaches of third-party apps are driving many organizations to think harder about the security of their off-the-shelf software as they continue to move left in secure software development practices.
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
PUBLISHED: 2021-06-20
The Quiz And Survey Master – Best Quiz, Exam and Survey Plugin WordPress plugin before 7.1.18 did not sanitise or escape its result_id parameter when displaying an existing quiz result page, leading to a reflected Cross-Site Scripting issue. This c...
PUBLISHED: 2021-06-18
RIOT-OS 2021.01 before commit 44741ff99f7a71df45420635b238b9c22093647a contains a buffer overflow which could allow attackers to obtain sensitive information.
PUBLISHED: 2021-06-18
SerenityOS contains a buffer overflow in the set_range test in TestBitmap which could allow attackers to obtain sensitive information.
PUBLISHED: 2021-06-18
SerenityOS in test-crypto.cpp contains a stack buffer overflow which could allow attackers to obtain sensitive information.
PUBLISHED: 2021-06-18
SerenityOS before commit 3844e8569689dd476064a0759d704bc64fb3ca2c contains a directory traversal vulnerability in tar/unzip that may lead to command execution or privilege escalation.