14 September 2011

Majority of companies 'unequipped to prevent security threats'

High numbers of businesses have claimed they feel unprepared to effectively content with IT security threats due to a lack of appropriately trained personnel, a new study from Kaspersky Lab has revealed.

The antivirus and spyware software company revealed that more than two-thirds (70 per cent) of companies feel unequipped to prevent and combat cyber crime due to insufficient staff, lack of funding and limited knowledge.

In addition, researchers discovered that a high number of firms felt their computer systems were not adequately equipped to contend with security threats, which have been found to be growing in popularity in recent years.

David Emm, senior security researcher at Kasperspy Lab, said: "Despite comprehensive information campaigns by public bodies, as well as by software and hardware manufacturers, many companies still attach too little importance to IT security."

Mr Emm also revealed that 30 per cent of companies had still not installed adequate spyware and virus protection despite the data protection scandals of recent years and the significant rise in hacker attacks in the past few weeks.

His comments emerge after Norton Security revealed the soaring costs spent on a yearly basis to tackle the ongoing issue of cybercrime, reaching $114 billion (£71.6 billion) on an annual basis.

"Cybercrime is much more prevalent than people realise. Over the past 12 months, three times as many adults surveyed have suffered from online crime versus offline crime, yet less than a third of respondents think they are more likely to become a victim of cybercrime than physical world crime in the next year," explained Adam Palmer, the company's lead cyber security advisor.

Results from the Kasperspy Lab study highlighted a significant variety in responses from a number of European countries, with France feeling the most insecure regarding the ongoing threat of security attacks.

The country, where 82 per cent of companies felt ill-equipped, took the lead over the UK with 65 per cent and Germany, which came in last place with 52 per cent of respondents admitting concern.

Mr Emm urged companies of all sizes to assess the risks and establish an effective security strategy to ward off any looming threats, as well as documenting any newly developed policies to assist in increasing assurance for employees.

In addition, the expert suggested that members of staff should be given training in order to educate them about the prevention of security attacks and what to do should one occur in the workplace.

"State-of-the-art IT security software, with its centralised management and installation, simple update processes and large scope of functions, is making it easier than ever before for today's companies to protect themselves," Mr Emm added.

He also acknowledged the difficulty some companies could face while trying to equip themselves during the current economic climate, but suggested that a tailored security policy could be a viable solution for a wide variety of businesses.

Results from the Norton Security study revealed that 431 million adults had fallen victim to cyber crime during the past 12 months, with $338 billion spent on losses internationally every year.

The company stated that illegal activity conducted on the internet costs the world significantly more than the global black market for marijuana, cocaine and heroin combined, which account for $288 billion.

Mr Palmer suggested that fighting cybercrime is a shared responsibility and requires people to be more alert and to invest in their online safety after 89 per cent of respondents agreed that more action should be taken to bring cybercriminals to justice.

"There is a serious disconnect in how people view the threat of cybercrime," he asserted.

Posted by Phil Williams

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