Social Networking in the Workplace – Workplace Social Networking creating security issues for corporate networks
The use of social networks by workers on the job has increased again, with usage patterns that may create new security issues for corporate networks.
Trend Micro’s annual survey on such usage indicates that globally, social networking at the workplace has steadily risen from 19 percent in 2008 to 24 percent in 2010. More alarming is the fact that the users most likely to visit social networking sites do so on laptops (29 percent versus 18 percent for desktops), and laptop users who can connect to the Internet outside of company networks are more likely to share confidential information via instant messages, Web mail and social media than those who are always connected to a company network.
According to Trend Micro’s analysis, workers are likely to succeed in thwarting prohibitions on workplace visits to social networks. A better policy that prohibition, the company argues, is to allow such visits, because they are then more likely to be made over corporate networks that can cope with threats.
There is no question that threats exist and that social networks have become an viable malware distribution platforms. KOOBFACE alone, the “largest Web 2.0 botnet,” controls and commands around 51,000 compromised machines globally.
David Perry, Trend Micro’s global director of education, summed up the situation as follows: “Most companies’ concerns around social networking in the office center around the loss of employee productivity. What they may not realize is that many social networking sites are built on interactive technologies that give cybercriminals endless opportunities to exploit end users, steal personal identities or business data, and corrupt corporate networks with malware.”
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