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Vulnerabilities / Threats

11/20/2012
01:07 PM
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Half Of Machines Shopping On Cyber Monday Likely Contain Vulnerabilities

Meanwhile, businesses more worried about productivity than security threats

It's that time of year again, when employees carve out a little time post-Turkey Day to shop for deals online while at the office on the Monday after Thanksgiving. And Cyber Monday once again comes fraught with security risks, according to new data, but most businesses say employee productivity is more of a concern than network threats.

Nearly 60 percent of businesses surveyed by Dell SonicWall say employees not working enough that day is their biggest worry, while 68 percent of them say that their employees are unable to recognize an online threat that imperils the corporate network. Companies say they also worry about online shopping infecting their networks, according to Dell's findings.

"Cyber Monday raises productivity issues and potentially opens corporate networks to possible threats," says Patrick Sweeney, executive director of product management for Dell SonicWall.

Qualys, meanwhile, today released data on browsers and computers that reveals the underlying problem with Cyber Monday: outdated browsers and other applications that are prime targets for online attacks. Half of users are running browsers that are outdated and contain vulnerabilities, according to the data gathered from more than 1 million end user computers over the past year.

"From this research, we have found that more than half of the tested machines have critical vulnerabilities. These vulnerabilities allow cybercriminals to take remote control of your machine, search your disk drive for valuable information, monitor all keystrokes and e-commerce transactions, and intercept private information, such as usernames and passwords, credit card numbers and bank account details," says Wolfgang Kandek, CTO of Qualys, in a blog post today.

Most machines are running outdated browsers and browsers with unpatched plug-ins. "There is some variation between browser types, but even the best browser, Apple Safari, leaves over 35% of its users at risk," Kandek says. The worst plug-in offender: Java, which had one-third of its installations vulnerable to attack. Adobe Flash, meanwhile, was vulnerable on 24 percent of the machines.

Java was running on 82 percent of the machines Qualys tested, and Flash, on more than 67 percent of them.

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Kelly Jackson Higgins is the Executive Editor of Dark Reading. She is an award-winning veteran technology and business journalist with more than two decades of experience in reporting and editing for various publications, including Network Computing, Secure Enterprise ... View Full Bio

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