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July 23, 2009

Social networking growth threat to business

Sites a breeding ground for malware

By CBR Staff Writer

Security firm Sophos has accused social networking sites of concentrating on growing their customer bases at the expense of properly protecting their users from internet threats.

The company said it is time for social network operators to take security seriously after it found a quarter of organisations have been exposed to spam, phishing or malware attacks via sites such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and MySpace.

To combat the growing problem of Web 2.0 threats, Sophos has discovered that approximately 50% of companies are blocking all or some access to social networks.

The company reported as part of its biannual assessment of the threat landscape its research has revealed that 63% of system administrators worry that employees share too much personal information via their social networking sites, putting their corporate infrastructure, and the sensitive data stored on it, at risk.

Security managers have every right to be concerned, the company suggested. Web 2.0 websites such as Facebook, Twitter and MySpace will become the main battleground for malware authors, identity thieves and spammers, Sophos has warned.

It says companies need to better educate users about online risks, make sure they adopt safe ways of using social networking websites, and ensure they are properly defended.

“Make sure all employees are aware of the impact that their actions could have on the corporate network,” Sophos said.

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It also suggested businesses should consider allowing access to popular social networking sites only at specific times, and check that any information staff are sharing online does not include sensitive business data.


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