Security Experts:

Companies Underestimate Global Cyber Threats, Survey

According to a recent study performed by B2B International on behalf of Kaspersky Lab, approximately 50 percent of organizations globally (even more in the U.S.), don’t take effective measures against the most pressing threats that exist today.

The study included more than 3,300 senior IT professionals from 22 countries who influence IT security policy, and have a good grounding in general business matters. The study discovered that a “significant number” of key IT specialists were unaware of the most common cyber threats, including those that focus on the corporate world, while 31 percent of the respondents outright admitted that they had never heard of many of the headline grabbing cyber attacks that pose major threats to their organization.

Further, 58 percent of the respondents said that there is a lack of resources when it comes to staffing and IT improvements, due mainly to poor understanding among senior managers of the reasons why IT departments exist - that is, their objectives and the reasoning behind them. In addition, 35 percent of companies have insufficient numbers of personnel trained to deal with IT threats - an issue particularly prevalent in North America.

However, warm bodies isn’t the solution Kaspersky said—existing staff also need to be educated. This low level of computer literacy among employees can lead to confidential information leakages, and to the infection - or even total disablement - of a company's IT infrastructure. Thus, teaching staff the basics of IT security should be no less important than installing the latest security software, notes the security firm.

Eugene Kaspersky, CEO and co-founder of Kaspersky Lab, warned that organizations shouldn't underestimate global cyber threats.

Related: Eugene Kaspersky: Definition Of 'Cyberwar' In Flux, Threat Of Cyber Weapons Underestimated

“This issue has started to be taken seriously of late, and businesses have begun to worry, leading to increases in the number of IT staff working specifically in IT security,” Kaspersky said in a statement. “However, IT security staff are not always sufficiently trained and competent to protect businesses from the most pertinent threats. This is why our goal, as a leader in the IT security industry, is not only to produce solutions, but also to raise awareness.”

A full copy of the study is available here in PDF format.

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Steve Ragan is a security reporter and contributor for SecurityWeek. Prior to joining the journalism world in 2005, he spent 15 years as a freelance IT contractor focused on endpoint security and security training.