GMA News Online

Why big business is scared of social media malware

August 23, 2011 7:09pm
Who's afraid of social networks?

Apparently, large enterprises are, at least according to a recent report by IT security firm Kaspersky Lab, which indicated that companies are "very cautious" about new media and how it affects their internal security.

In a survey of 1,300 IT professionals from 11 countries across the globe —including Japan, China and Asia in India— at least 72 percent of companies restrict or ban the use of social networking in their offices.

Among employee activities, social networking follows after peer-to-peer file sharing programs, which is being restricted by 73 percent of those surveyed, but ranks even higher than online games (68 percent), video streaming (67 percent) and instant messaging (64 percent).

This restriction policy, however, is more evident in developed countries than developing ones, such as in the US, Russia, and Brazil.

Developing countries, the report noted, tend to be more restrictive of instant messaging, video streaming and VoIP tools in the workplace.

But companies have a reason to be afraid, as various reports have confirmed the rise of security threats spreading through social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter in the last 12 months.

In July, for example, Kaspersky noted a rise in phishing attacks on social networking sites such as Habbo (a social network for teenagers) and Facebook, increasing by as much as 6.25 and 4.07 percentage, respectively.

But social networks with large user bases are not the only target of malware, Kaspersky said, because cybercriminals are likely to exploit the growing interest in upcoming social network sites such as the newly launch Google+.

“We expect an increase in unsolicited emails exploiting the new Google social network. They will most likely contain both phishing links and malicious code," said Maria Namestnikova, Senior Spam Analyst at Kaspersky Lab.

Early on, however, scammers have found a way to trick users into giving personal information or downloading malware in exchange of much sought-after invites into the new social network.

Jesmond Chang of Karpersky Southeast Asia told reporters that in essence, cybercriminals go after systems which have seen massive adoption over the years.

He noted that in the evolution of Internet threats, criminals have gone from targeting e-mails to social networks, with mobile being seen as the next inflection point of malware as adoption of smartphones and tablets increase exponentially around the world. — TJD, GMA News
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