One In Five Organizations Hit By Keyloggers

By | May 17, 2006

Websense has announced the IT Decision-Maker results of the company’s seventh annual Web@Work study. According to the survey, directionally, more organisations were hit by a hacking tool or a keylogger in 2006, as almost one in five of organizations have had employees launch a hacking tool or a keylogger within their network.

This number has increased from 2005 in which 12 per cent were impacted. A keylogger can be defined as one of the most dangerous types of spyware, which has the ability to record keystrokes and screen shots and can be replayed later to reconstruct a user session. These applications can be utilised by hackers to steal passwords and confidential information, which can then be used to provide full access to corporate systems and files.

The 2006 Web@Work survey also highlighted a new threat on the horizon—bots. A bot (short for robot) is software that can be unknowingly installed on an end-user’s PC that communicates with a command and control center. The command and control centre has unauthorised control of many bot-infested PCs from a single point, and can be used for launching distributed Denial of Service attacks, acting as a spam proxy, and hosting malicious content and phishing exploits.

Only 34 per cent of IT decision-makers said they are very or extremely confident that they can prevent bots from infecting employees’ PCs when not connected to the corporate network. Furthermore, 19 per cent of IT decision-makers indicated that they have had employees’ work-owned computers or laptops infected with a bot. As bots are a relatively new threat to many IT decision-makers, there is still some discrepancy on whether or not to filter bot traffic—the survey found that 62 per cent of IT decision-makers reported that their companies filter bot traffic in their network; 14 per cent do not; 24 per cent were unsure.

Upon evaluating how the IT security landscape has changed in the past 12 months, spyware within the enterprise continues to be a problem—92 per cent of IT decision-makers surveyed estimated that their organization has been infected by spyware at some point, compared to 93 per cent in 2005.

The threat of phishing has stayed relatively constant in the past 12 months, as hackers utilize new deception techniques to lure in internet users. Four in five IT decision-makers (81 per cent) report that their employees have received a phishing attack via email or instant messaging (IM), versus 82 per cent in 2005. Of those, nearly half (47 per cent) of IT decision-makers said their employees have clicked through the URL, compared to 45 per cent 12 months ago. Perhaps due to increasing media coverage and nationwide attention, more employees are aware of phishing—about half (49 per cent) of employees have heard of phishing, compared to only 33 per cent last year. Similarly, 44 per cent of IT decision-makers believe that employees in their company cannot accurately identify phishing sites—this is slightly improved from the past year in which 50 per cent of IT decision-makers believed their employees could not accurately identify phishing sites.

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