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Ponemon Study: Voice Calls May Be At Risk

83 percent of companies do not train users on the dangers of using cell phones in high risk areas, survey says
SAN FRANCSICO -- RSA Conference 2010 -- A survey released today by the Ponemon Institute suggests that large and midsize businesses are putting themselves at risk of cell phone voice call interception.

According to a survey of 75 companies and 107 senior executives in the United States, it costs U.S. corporations, on average, $1.3 million each time a corporate secret is revealed to unauthorized parties. Eighteen percent of respondents estimate such losses to occur weekly or more frequently; 61 percent say such leaks occur at least monthly. Ninety percent of companies say such leaks occur at least once a year.

Sixty-seven percent of IT practitioners surveyed lack confidence that the proprietary and confidential information conveyed during cell phone conversations is adequately secured in their organizations. Eighty percent believe their organizations would not discover the wrongful interception of a cell phone conversation that revealed valuable corporate secrets.

Seventy-one percent of organizations say their employees communicate confidential information over cell phones in conference calls. Eighty percent say employees communicate confidential information via cell phone when traveling to countries known to be high risk for voice interception. More than half of respondents felt that high-profile employees are likely or very likely to be specifically targeted for voice interception. The risk of such interception was seen to be highest in the Asia Pacific and Middle East regions.

Only 14 percent of organizations have deployed technological solutions to personnel traveling to high-risk locations. Eighty-three percent of companies are not even training employees about the risks of using cell phones in high risk areas, Ponemon says.

"Cellular communications are ubiquitous in business and will only become more prevalent as worker mobility grows, yet the risk to information security is often overlooked," said Larry Ponemon, chairman and founder, Ponemon Institute."

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