Report: More companies ban social networks, Web 2.0 sites

It's not just about e-mail anymore

A report released by MessageLabs, a UK-based security vendor, found that nearly 20 percent of organizations blocked social networking and dating sites in February due to concerns about employee productivity and malware. In addition, the number of websites blocked by filters was nearly 47 percent, which, according to MessageLabs, should spur IT departments to update their electronic use policies to reflect newer Web 2.0 technologies.

"Organizations need to raise awareness about the risks of these sites," says Paul Wood, a security analyst with MessageLabs. "Some of the policies are not up to date."

Wood says it wasn't always clear how malware entered users' computers or networks as a result of using social networks. In one example, however, he cited a case where a user visited a fake MySpace page where they were served up a pop-up add designed to look like a Microsoft software update. When the person clicked on the pop-up, they were taken to an illegitimate site that tried to install malware over JavaScript.

The report, which according to a spokesman polled most of MessageLabs' 16,000 customers, also sheds some light on other consumer technologies, such as Gmail. The proportion of spam originating from Gmail accounts doubled in the month of February, the research states. According to the report, spammers found a way around Completely Automated Public Turing Test To Tell Computers and Humans Apart (CAPTCHA), which is essentially the letters users are asked to type when they start an e-mail account or look for tickets on a site such as Ticketmaster.

Spam from Yahoo still leads the way, claiming 90 per cent of the spam sent from consumer-based e-mail services, according to MessageLabs.

The MessageLabs' report echoes the worries IT leaders expressed in CIO's recent survey-based story, the Nine Consumer Technologies CIOs Fear. Nearly 10 percent of IT decision makers told CIO that they viewed social networks such as Facebook and MySpace as the biggest consumer technology threat to their organizations. Approximately 18 per cent cited consumer-based e-mail like Hotmail, Yahoo and Gmail as the greatest threat to their organizations, making it second only to USB devices.

IT departments will have to reevaluate their electronic use policies to include social networks and other new Web 2.0 technologies, Wood says. "It's not just about e-mail anymore," he says. "People need to know how to conduct themselves on blogs, IM and social networks."

If IT institutes better electronic use policies that educate users about the sites that they visit, better security will follow, Wood argues. "It's more of a management issue than a technology issue," he says.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Comments

Comments are now closed.

Most Popular Reviews

Follow Us

Best Deals on GoodGearGuide

Shopping.com

Latest News Articles

Resources

GGG Evaluation Team

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Steph Mundell

LIFEBOOK UH574

The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.

Andrew Mitsi

STYLISTIC Q702

The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.

Simon Harriott

STYLISTIC Q702

My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?