One in Five Hit by Keyloggers

Websense announced the IT Decision-Maker results of the company's seventh annual Web@Work study, conducted by Harris Interactive

Dark Reading Staff, Dark Reading

May 15, 2006

4 Min Read

SAN DIEGO -- Websense, Inc. (NASDAQ:WBSN), a global leader in web security and web filtering productivity software, today announced the IT Decision-Maker results of the company's seventh annual Web@Work study, conducted by Harris Interactive ®. From March 15 to March 24, 2006, 351 U.S. IT decision-makers who work for organizations with at least 100 employees, at least 1 percent of whom have internet access, were interviewed online, and from March 16 to April 4, 2006, 500 U.S. employees ages 18 and older who have internet access at work and who work for organizations with at least 100 employees were surveyed over the telephone on web and software application usage in their workplace.

According to the Web@Work survey, directionally, more organizations were hit by a hacking tool or a keylogger in 2006, as almost one in five (17 percent) of organizations have had employees launch a hacking tool or a keylogger within their network. This number has increased from 2005 in which 12 percent were impacted. A keylogger can be defined as one of the most dangerous types of spyware, which has the ability to record keystrokes and screen shots and can be replayed later to reconstruct a user session. These applications can be utilized by hackers to steal passwords and confidential information, which can then be used to provide full access to corporate systems and files.

The 2006 Web@Work survey also highlighted a new threat on the horizon-bots. A bot (short for robot) is software that can be unknowingly installed on an end-user's PC that communicates with a command and control center. The command and control center has unauthorized control of many bot-infested PCs from a single point, and can be used for launching distributed Denial of Service attacks, acting as a spam proxy, and hosting malicious content and phishing exploits.

Only 34 percent of IT decision-makers said they are very or extremely confident that they can prevent bots from infecting employees' PCs when not connected to the corporate network. Furthermore, 19 percent of IT decision-makers indicated that they have had employees' work-owned computers or laptops infected with a bot. As bots are a relatively new threat to many IT decision-makers, there is still some discrepancy on whether or not to filter bot traffic-the survey found that 62 percent of IT decision-makers reported that their companies filter bot traffic in their network; 14 percent do not; 24 percent were unsure.

Upon evaluating how the IT security landscape has changed in the past 12 months, spyware within the enterprise continues to be a problem-92 percent of IT decision-makers surveyed estimated that their organization has been infected by spyware at some point, compared to 93 percent in 2005.

The threat of phishing has stayed relatively constant in the past 12 months, as hackers utilize new deception techniques to lure in internet users. Four in five IT decision-makers (81 percent) report that their employees have received a phishing attack via email or instant messaging (IM), versus 82 percent in 2005. Of those, nearly half (47 percent) of IT decision-makers said their employees have clicked through the URL, compared to 45 percent 12 months ago. Perhaps due to increasing media coverage and nationwide attention, more employees are aware of phishing-about half (49 percent) of employees have heard of phishing, compared to only 33 percent last year. Similarly, 44 percent of IT decision-makers believe that employees in their company cannot accurately identify phishing sites-this is slightly improved from the past year in which 50 percent of IT decision-makers believed their employees could not accurately identify phishing sites.

"Although employee awareness of web-based threats such as phishing attacks and keyloggers is improving, the vast majority of employees still do not know that they could fall prey to these types of social engineering tactics in the workplace," said Dan Hubbard, senior director of security and technology research, Websense, Inc. "Organizations need to implement a proactive approach to web security which includes both technology to block access to these types of infected websites and applications, as well as rigorous employee internet security education programs."

Websense Inc. (Nasdaq: WBSN)

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Dark Reading Staff

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