Browser-based attacks on the up

Viral menace recedes, slightly

Browser-based attacks are becoming more of a threat to corporate IT security.

A survey of nearly 900 organizations found that 36.8 per cent were plagued by one or more browser-based attacks over the last six months. The figure is up from 25 per cent in last year’s survey by CompTIA , the Computing Technology Industry Association.

Typically browser-based attacks take place when a surfer visits a website containing malicious code. Spam is a typical conduit for such attacks.

The result of such attacks may be as simple as a crashed browser; or as serious as the theft of personal information or the loss of confidential proprietary data.

Computer viruses and worm attacks, though still the biggest threat to IT security, are significantly less common than they were a year ago, according to the CompTIA survey. The number of organisations identifying viruses as their most common security threat dropped from 80 per cent last year to 68.6 per cent this year.

Network intrusion problems also dropped (from 65.1 per cent last year to 39.9 per cent this year). Organisations also reported significant declines in problems caused by remote access, such as virtual private networks and dial-up (41.7 per cent, down from 49.9 per cent); and social engineering (17.9 per cent, down from 21.9 per cent).

Earlier findings from the CompTIA pointed the finger at human error for the majority of security problems.

The CompTIA survey also looked at the use of security technologies and services. The vast majority (95.5 per cent) of organisations use some form of anti-virus protection. Nine in 10 (90.8 per cent) of shops use firewalls. Security audits and penetration testing were also used by the majority of IT pros surveyed (61 per cent of respondents, up from 53 per cent last year). ®

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