Feeds

Memory sticks top security concern for firms

But most have no safeguards in place

The Power of One eBook: Top reasons to choose HP BladeSystem

Removable media devices are now seen as the biggest security threat to corporate security, and yet 80 per cent of firms don't have safeguards in place.

That's according to a new study from Centennial Software which claims that four out of five firms have failed to implement effective measures to protect against the threat that such devices can pose.

Centennial's annual "Security Attitudes Survey 2007", which surveyed more than 370 mid and senior level IT managers attending the Infosecurity Europe expo in London, indicates that 38.4 per cent of respondents rank removable media devices such as USB memory sticks and MP3 Players, as the number one security issue facing their organisation.

This marks the first time that respondents have rated removable media devices above other common security threats such as viruses and malware/spyware.

Overall, 23.7 per cent of respondents who cited internet viruses as their biggest security concern, while 22.3 per cent said malware/spyware was the biggest threat to corporate security.

While IT managers are increasingly aware of the risks posed by removable media devices, it seems that few have implemented safeguards yet. This is despite a raft of recent media stories surrounding insider data theft using removable media.

According to the study, 43 per cent of those questioned have no controls whatsoever in place to manage removable media devices, while 27.4 per cent leave it to individual manager's discretion. Just 8.6 per cent of respondents have taken the drastic step of introducing a company-wide ban on the use of removable media devices.

In addition, 16.4 per cent use endpoint security software to manage potential risks effectively.

The study reveals that there has been a nine per cent rise in the number of companies who include references to removable devices in their acceptable use polices. However, respondents noted that use of USB memory sticks in particular, has almost doubled in the past year from 36.3 per cent in 2006 to 65.6 per cent this year and Centennial warns that companies need to do more to protect themselves.

"It's long been recognised that human error leads to the majority of information security problems," said Matt Fisher, vice-president at Centennial. "Leaving the use of removable devices at the discretion of staff exacerbates the risks posed by these devices - especially when a minority of employees may have reasons for wanting to steal or compromise data.

"A larger proportion of companies than last year said they had no controls for managing removable devices in place - 43.3 per cent versus 38.5 per cent last year. This is an alarming trend; if organisations recognise the risks of data loss, theft and damage from USB sticks, smartphones and MP3 players, they need to take action to manage the threat and protect their data," added Fisher.

A similar study carried out by business advisory firm Deloitte last July which indicated a 50 per cent rise in security breaches, found that almost half of all incidents originated internally, which the firm said was unsurprising given the increased popularity of portable media devices.

Copyright © 2007, ENN

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications

More from The Register

next story
How long is too long to wait for a security fix?
Synology finally patches OpenSSL bugs in Trevor's NAS
Don't look, Snowden: Security biz chases Tails with zero-day flaws alert
Exodus vows not to sell secrets of whistleblower's favorite OS
Roll out the welcome mat to hackers and crackers
Security chap pens guide to bug bounty programs that won't fail like Yahoo!'s
HIDDEN packet sniffer spy tech in MILLIONS of iPhones, iPads – expert
Don't panic though – Apple's backdoor is not wide open to all, guru tells us
Researcher sat on critical IE bugs for THREE YEARS
VUPEN waited for Pwn2Own cash while IE's sandbox leaked
Four fake Google haxbots hit YOUR WEBSITE every day
Goog the perfect ruse to slip into SEO orfice
Putin: Crack Tor for me and I'll make you a MILLIONAIRE
Russian Interior Ministry offers big pile o' roubles for busting pro-privacy browser
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Seven Steps to Software Security
Seven practical steps you can begin to take today to secure your applications and prevent the damages a successful cyber-attack can cause.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.