Study Shows Greatest Threats to Business Networks

Dennis Faas's picture

Businesses' internal networks are becoming increasingly less secure, a new study shows. A scan of 100,000 corporate PCs and servers found that every single organisation was facing some form of security threat.

The industries studied included healthcare, insurance, finance and manufacturing, with Promises Inc warning that the risk might extend outside the networks and out into the public domain among customers and clients.

Security firm Promises Inc carried out the study between January and June this year. The research found even the most secure networks had at least three threats: the two biggest problems (affecting about 12% of computers each) were machines either having no anti-virus software or installed software being disabled, and employees using removable media such as USB sticks or external hard drives without the permission (or even the knowledge) of systems administrators. (Source:

Perhaps the most surprising statistic is that one in ten of corporate computers scanned had some form of peer-to-peer software installed without permission; it seems BitTorrent is replacing solitaire as the office time-killer of choice. There's also been a rise in unauthorised Instant Messaging, which can be risky if files are transmitted.

Other problems included folders being shared on a network without adequate protection, and Windows computers lacking the latest Microsoft security updates.

Many security threats are on the rise. The most significant growth was in unauthorised remote control software, where someone from a distant computer is able to control another machine. Remote hacking has become 200 times more common than in the same period last year.

There are also twelve times as many computers without adequate anti-virus protection, while every security threat measured has become at least twice as common.

Promises Inc's vice-president Alan Komet warned that "Internal threats are the biggest risk area to a company's security, and the threats we found are ones that are easily remediated." (Source:

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