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.

Vulnerabilities / Threats

10/27/2008
05:49 PM
Connect Directly
Google+
Twitter
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

Internet Apps & Social Networking Office Boom Linked to Breaches

New study finds that nearly all organizations have employees using Internet apps at work, and 60% use social networking at the office

One of IT's worst nightmares may be coming true: according to a new survey, organizations where more employees are using social networking at work now than six months ago have experienced more security incidents.

Nearly 60 percent of all IT managers surveyed by FaceTime Communications reported that their users social-network at the office. Of those organizations, the ones where more users were using social networking today than six months ago experienced an average of 39 security incidents a month, requiring 24 hours worth of remediation. Those with about the same or fewer users of social networking at work experienced around 22 or 23 such incidents a month, with about half the remediation time.

The overall survey looked at the use of Internet-based applications like Facebook, LinkedIn, instant messaging, and voice-over-IP. "Employees are bringing these applications in… and this is a challenge for IT people because it's at odds with what they are comfortable with," says Frank Cabri, vice president of marketing and product management at FaceTime Communications. "They are trying to enable their employees to get the job done, but they have to be sure their network is up and available, and that information is not leaking out through those channels they can't monitor."

Facetime's survey found that nearly 100 percent of employees at the surveyed organizations use at least one consumer application such as Facebook, YouTube, Skype, or instant messaging (that's up from 85 percent last year), and around 80 percent of employees use social networking sites for their jobs as well as for personal use. On average, an organization has 9.3 of these types of Internet applications in use by its employees.

The report surveyed over 500 employees and IT managers, over half of which work at organizations with over 1,000 employees.

Among the most surprising finds in the report, according to Cabri, was that one third of the employees surveyed said they had the right to run these applications on their desktop, even if it was a violation of IT policy. "If applications are attractive and they allow the benefits for work or both, people are willing to go against corporate IT policy," he says.

Another red flag was when it came to data leaks at these organizations: four in 10 IT managers said they had experienced security incidents that were purposeful, while 27 percent had seen "unintentional release of corporate information" occur.

"37 percent of IT managers reported an incident of [someone] knowingly sending out confidential information that was a violation" of policy, Cabri says. "That seems to be a big number to deal with."

And those leaks came via social networking, IM, and peer-to-peer communications, he says.

Nearly one fourth of the organizations had been hit by at least one Web-borne attack costing the business an average of $50,000 per month, according to the report. Large organizations found this cost them as much as $125,000 a month. The main attacks were viruses, Trojans and worms (59 percent), and spyware (57 percent).

The IT managers in the survey said they face an average of 34 security incidents per month, and bigger companies (over 5,000 employees) experience close to 70 a month.

Facetime's Cabri says the answer is IT and the user community finding a middle ground. "I would never advise a company to give access to each and every [Facebook app] to its users," for instance, he says. First, determine which Internet apps users are deploying and how they are using them, he says.

"The key is putting controls in place," Cabri says. You could allow Facebook, for instance, but only with business applications within the group and block chats, he says. "And you should be measuring and reporting on what they are doing" with it, he says.

Have a comment on this story? Please click "Discuss" below. If you'd like to contact Dark Reading's editors directly, send us a message

Kelly Jackson Higgins is Executive Editor at DarkReading.com. 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

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Florida Town Pays $600K to Ransomware Operators
Curtis Franklin Jr., Senior Editor at Dark Reading,  6/20/2019
Pledges to Not Pay Ransomware Hit Reality
Robert Lemos, Contributing Writer,  6/21/2019
AWS CISO Talks Risk Reduction, Development, Recruitment
Kelly Sheridan, Staff Editor, Dark Reading,  6/25/2019
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon
Current Issue
Building and Managing an IT Security Operations Program
As cyber threats grow, many organizations are building security operations centers (SOCs) to improve their defenses. In this Tech Digest you will learn tips on how to get the most out of a SOC in your organization - and what to do if you can't afford to build one.
Flash Poll
The State of IT Operations and Cybersecurity Operations
The State of IT Operations and Cybersecurity Operations
Your enterprise's cyber risk may depend upon the relationship between the IT team and the security team. Heres some insight on what's working and what isn't in the data center.
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2019-10133
PUBLISHED: 2019-06-26
A flaw was found in Moodle before 3.7, 3.6.4, 3.5.6, 3.4.9 and 3.1.18. The form to upload cohorts contained a redirect field, which was not restricted to internal URLs.
CVE-2019-10134
PUBLISHED: 2019-06-26
A flaw was found in Moodle before 3.7, 3.6.4, 3.5.6, 3.4.9 and 3.1.18. The size of users' private file uploads via email were not correctly checked, so their quota allowance could be exceeded.
CVE-2019-10154
PUBLISHED: 2019-06-26
A flaw was found in Moodle before versions 3.7, 3.6.4. A web service fetching messages was not restricted to the current user's conversations.
CVE-2019-9039
PUBLISHED: 2019-06-26
The Couchbase Sync Gateway 2.1.2 in combination with a Couchbase Server is affected by a previously undisclosed N1QL-injection vulnerability in the REST API. An attacker with access to the public REST API can insert additional N1QL statements through the parameters ?startkey? and ?endkey? of the ?_a...
CVE-2018-20846
PUBLISHED: 2019-06-26
Out-of-bounds accesses in the functions pi_next_lrcp, pi_next_rlcp, pi_next_rpcl, pi_next_pcrl, pi_next_rpcl, and pi_next_cprl in openmj2/pi.c in OpenJPEG through 2.3.0 allow remote attackers to cause a denial of service (application crash).