Analyst warns that Web 2.0 threatens corporate security

Beware the 'perforated perimeter,' warns IDC's Christian Christiansen

With the Web becoming central to the way companies do business, cybercriminals are taking increasing advantage of Web 2.0 and social networking sites to launch attacks, according to Christian Christiansen, vice president for security products and services for IDC.

The Web isn't the benign resource for information that once people saw it as, said Christiansen, who spoke this week at Kaspersky Lab's Surviving CyberCrime Event in the US. "One of the things that's happened that's disconcerting, and it's been growing over the last 10 years, is the blending of people's private lives with their corporate lives," he said.

Employees' personal lives -- their online shopping habits and interactions with friends and families -- get intermingled with the interactions they have at work with customers, fellow employees, partners and suppliers, he said. "So that creates a perforated perimeter where there isn't a hard, fast separation between the corporate world and the personal world," he said.

The problem is that employees don't always follow their company's security policies -- probably because they don't know what those policies are, nor do they know what their company's acceptable use policy is. The result: employees don't know what's allowed and what they're barred from doing. Sometimes, Christiansen said, the very people who set up the corporate policies don't even follow them.

Problems also occur when an IT department no longer controls the products being connected to the corporate network. That list could include everything from smart phones to new and untested laptops and desktops to different application environments, he said.

"We're seeing the realization that the internal security problem is growing -- the threats are coming from inside the network," he said.

The latest threats to network security now are coming from collaboration and Web 2.0 environments -- where employees casually click on links that could lead them to malware -- and they come from the wide variety of devices that may be accessing private as well as corporate networks, he said.

"We're seeing a change in the threat environment," he said. "Instead of the threats, the malicious code, being distributed as e-mail attachments, we're seeing more and more that they're being embedded in Web 2.0 links," he said. "In the past, what you saw was an immediate effect, now we're seeing much greater levels of subterfuge and much more sophisticated attacks."

To better avoid potential problems, IT departments need to control user behavior, the types of devices being used to access information, the applications being used and content contributions.

"Risk reduction requires policy managements and layered protection -- at the gateway to the Internet as well as at the endpoint desktops, laptops and servers," he said. "You need a whole series of checks and balances."

IDC is a part of IDG, which is also the parent company of Computerworld.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Linda Rosencrance

Computerworld
Show Comments

Cool Tech

SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™

Learn more >

Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?