Feeds

UK.plc struggles to eradicate viral infection

Malware remains top security nuisance

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

Viral infection was the biggest single cause of security incidents over the last two years, according to a DTI-backed study published on Tuesday.

The DTI's biennial Information Security Breaches survey found that viral infection caused roughly half of security incidents reported. Two in five viral infestations were said to have caused a serious impact on the organisations affected.

The study also found that viruses were more likely to cause service disruptions than other security breaches. While interruptions generally had minimal impact, a quarter of firms that blamed viral infestation for the worst security incident had major problems, such as losing important services (for example email), for more than a day.

Almost all the 1,000 UK companies that participated in the survey use anti-virus software. Although malware continues to be a problem for UK plc infection rates, the survey says it has dropped by roughly a third since two years ago.

However, on a less encouraging note, 20 per cent of firms questioned said they do not update signature files (used to protect against viruses) within a day.

Two years ago, a small number of viruses were the root of business concerns, but last year attacks featuring Trojans and botnet clients became a bigger problem. The study found that viral infections tend to take more work to resolve than other incidents. One such incident took a company 50 days to fix.

The telephone survey also found that around a quarter of UK businesses are not protecting themselves against spyware.

Meanwhile, patching practices are slowly improving. Nearly nine in ten UK businesses (88 per cent) apply new operating system security updates within a week of their release, compared with 79 per cent of businesses in 2004. Firms that install patches within a day, unsurprisingly, suffered fewer viral infections than those that wait even a week.

A consortium led by PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP managed the 2006 Information Security Breaches survey. Other lead sponsors are Microsoft, Symantec, Entrust and Clearswift. Input has also come from the National Hi-Tech Crime Unit, Royal Holloway, University of London and the Information Security Forum.

Chris Potter, the partner from management consultancy PricewaterhouseCoopers leading the survey, said: "It's very encouraging to see the progress that UK companies have made in installing anti-virus software and patching their systems. However, there's a danger of fighting yesterday's battle. Past viruses were designed to cause large amounts of indiscriminate damage typically by taking down targets' networks. Cyber-criminals now use virus infections to get in under the radar of businesses and steal confidential data."

The full results of the survey will be published at the Infosecurity Europe exhibition and conference in London, which takes place between 25 and 27 April. ®

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

More from The Register

next story
Regin: The super-spyware the security industry has been silent about
NSA fingered as likely source of complex malware family
Why did it take antivirus giants YEARS to drill into super-scary Regin? Symantec responds...
FYI this isn't just going to target Windows, Linux and OS X fans
Privacy bods offer GOV SPY VICTIMS a FREE SPYWARE SNIFFER
Looks for gov malware that evades most antivirus
Home Office: Fancy flogging us some SECRET SPY GEAR?
If you do, tell NOBODY what it's for or how it works
HACKERS can DELETE SURVEILLANCE DVRS remotely – report
Hikvision devices wide open to hacking, claim securobods
'Regin': The 'New Stuxnet' spook-grade SOFTWARE WEAPON described
'A degree of technical competence rarely seen'
Syrian Electronic Army in news site 'hack' POP-UP MAYHEM
Gigya redirect exploit blamed for pop-rageous ploy
Astro-boffins start opening universe simulation data
Got a supercomputer? Want to simulate a universe? Here you go
prev story

Whitepapers

10 ways wire data helps conquer IT complexity
IT teams can automatically detect problems across the IT environment, spot data theft, select unique pieces of transaction payloads to send to a data source, and more.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
How to determine if cloud backup is right for your servers
Two key factors, technical feasibility and TCO economics, that backup and IT operations managers should consider when assessing cloud backup.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security and trust: The backbone of doing business over the internet
Explores the current state of website security and the contributions Symantec is making to help organizations protect critical data and build trust with customers.