Trend Micro's 2010 corporate end user survey, which included 1600 end users(1) in the U.S., U.K., Germany and Japan, found that globally, social networking at the workplace steadily rose from 19 percent in 2008 to 24 percent in 2010(2). The highest surge of social networking on the corporate network during the last two years was found among end-users within the U.K., who tallied a 6 percent increase, and Germany, with a more than 10 percent leap.
With the exception of Japan, there were no significant differences between end users from small businesses and those from large corporations, but the survey found that laptop users are much more likely than desktop users to visit social networking sites. Globally, social networking usage via laptops went up by 8 percent from 2008 to 2010. In the U.S., it increased by 10 percent and in Germany, up by 14 percent.
In 2010, 29 percent of laptop users versus 18 percent of desktop users surveyed said they frequented these sites at work. In Japan for 2010, small-company employees were much more likely than those from large companies to visit social networking sites - 21 percent from small companies compared to 7 percent from large companies.
For all countries surveyed in 2010, laptop users who can connect to the Internet outside of company network are more likely to share confidential information via instant messenger, Web mail and social media applications than those who are always connected to a company's network. This is significantly so in Germany and Japan.
As more and more people communicate through social networks, the more viable social networks become malware distribution platforms. KOOBFACE alone, the "largest Web 2.0 botnet," controls and commands around 51,000 compromised machines globally. This demonstrates the scale of the threat, and emphasizes the need to educate users and implement strong policies. Trying to just prevent users accessing social networks from work could potentially increase the risk to an organization as users look for ways around computer security possibly increasing the chance of exposure to security threats.
"Social networking is an extremely important tool both for personal and professional-relationship building. And while most companies' concerns around social networking in the office center around the loss of employee productivity, what they may not realize is that many social networking sites are built on interactive technologies that give cybercriminals endless opportunities to exploit end users, steal personal identities or business data, and corrupt corporate networks with malware," said David Perry, global director of education, Trend Micro. "With the right security solutions and social networking guidelines implemented, there is no reason why companies who choose to allow their employees the option of visiting these sites should be overly exposed to these risks."
For more information regarding this survey, please visit: http://trendmicro.mediaroom.com/index.php?s=23
Education, awareness and the right security product
Education, combined with the right security technology specifically designed for your business, are keys to maximizing the popularity and relationship-building power of social networking. Trend Micro's "Security Guide to Social Networks" examines the most common types of cybercriminal attacks through social networking sites, and gives recommendations on how businesses can keep their corporate networks safe from malicious activities.
To understand how the KOOBFACE botnet propagates through social networking sites, take a look at "Web 2.0 Botnet Evolution: KOOBFACE Revisited," a technical whitepaper authored by Trend Micro threat researchers.
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The Trend Micro(TM) Smart Protection(TM) Network system delivers the infrastructure behind many Trend Micro products and solutions that stop social networking threats. It uses a number of patent-pending technologies and combines Internet-based (or "in-the-cloud") technologies with lighter-weight, client-based methods to ensure small businesses have immediate access to the latest and strongest protection wherever and however they connect - from home, within the company's network, or on the go.
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Trend Micro Incorporated, a global leader in Internet content security, focuses on securing the exchange of digital information for businesses and consumers. A pioneer and industry vanguard, Trend Micro is advancing integrated threat management technology to protect operational continuity, personal information, and property from malware, spam, data leaks and the newest Web threats. Visit TrendWatch at www.trendmicro.com/go/trendwatch to learn more about the latest threats. Trend Micro's flexible solutions, available in multiple form factors, are supported 24/7 by threat intelligence experts around the globe. Many of these solutions are powered by the Trend Micro(TM) Smart Protection Network(TM) infrastructure, a next-generation cloud-client innovation that combines sophisticated cloud-based reputation technology, feedback loops, and the expertise of TrendLabs(SM) researchers to deliver real-time protection from emerging threats. A transnational company, with headquarters in Tokyo, Trend Micro's trusted security solutions are sold through its business partners worldwide. Please visit www.trendmicro.com.