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12 Dangers of Endpoint Security

by Symantec

Heading into 2010, SMBs have access to a growing variety of IT tools to improve productivity, such as netbooks, smartphones and cloud computing-based services. But without adequate endpoint security best practices in place, a business leaves itself open to external and internal threats that can cripple it. In the spirit of the holiday season, Symantec has developed a list of the 12 Dangers of Endpoint Security to help SMBs and their solution providers identify and thwart them.

Symantecís 12 Dangers of Endpoint Security

1. AntiVirus alone is inadequate: a Symantec survey of U.S.-based small businesses finds nearly 60 percent of respondents have not implemented endpoint protection (software that protects end points such as laptops, desktops and servers against malware). 42 percent do not have an antispam solution, and one-third do not even have the most basic protection of all -- antivirus protection.

2. Lack of IT expertise: the same Symantec survey finds 42 percent of SMBs do not have a dedicated IT staff--they either have no one managing their computers or they use staff that has other jobs.

3. Explosion of malware: Symantec in 2008 created more than 1.6 million new malicious code signatures, a 165 percent increase over 2007.

4. Fame to fortune: the primary motivation of attackers has evolved from wanting to achieve public notoriety to financial gains, and they are employing attacks that are more stealthy and insidious.

5. Unpatched endpoints: ignoring updates from software companies leaves businesses much more susceptible to infection and attack.

6. Confidential information loss: could be due to well-meaning insiders, malicious insiders or external attackers. SMBs are less likely to have network server and storage space, so are therefore more likely to store sensitive information on endpoints that need to be protected.

7. Rogue security software: Also known as Scareware, these attacks pose as legitimate security software that actually facilitates the installation of the malicious code they purport to protect against.

8. Drive-by downloads: Malware that resides on web sites and infect systems of people who visit those sites. SMBs are increasingly adopting Internet and Web-based computing models to conduct tasks like web mail, file sharing and social media communication, and are therefore at high risk of having their endpoints infected via the web.

9. Netbooks: These inexpensive tools are becoming more popular for business purposes, and they need to be secured just like traditional desktops and laptops. Relying on limited security functionality built into operating systems will not provide adequate security.

10. Smartphones: the first attack targeting smartphones and other mobile devices appeared in 2005 as a Multimedia Messaging Service (MMS) worm. As more employees attach their smartphones to the company network, the risk to confidential information loss also increases.

11. Wireless networks: Businesses must ensure their WiFi networks, and the endpoints connecting to them, are secure.

12. Cloud computing: Web-hosted services can dramatically increase productivity and reduce IT costs, but these environments must be secured just like on-site data centers.

Related Reading

The Convergence of Endpoint Security and Endpoint Management.

Information Protection Extends Beyond the Network.

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