Security Corner

Sep 17 2010   1:24AM GMT

Panda Security Publishes Findings from 1st Annual Social Media Risk Index for SMBs

Ken Harthun Ken Harthun Profile: Ken Harthun

If you’re not familiar with this great company, you need to be. I’ve written about them here on several occasions. It seems to me that in this highly competitive security industry, these people just seem to want to do it right. They have great products and they’re attentive to their clients and potential clients. No, I didn’t get paid to say that.

The latest news from Panda Security is their announcement of the the results of their First Annual Social Media Risk Index for SMBs, a study which surveyed 315 US businesses with up to 1,000 employees.

Highlights from the study include:

  • 33% of SMBs have been infected by malware propagated via social networks
  • 23% of SMBs cited employee privacy violations on popular social media sites
  • 35% of SMBs infected by malware from social networks have suffered financial loss
  • Facebook takes top spot for social networking-related malware infections, followed by YouTube and Twitter
  • 57% of SMBs currently have a social media governance policy in place, with 81 percent of these companies employing personnel to actively enforce those policies

In addition, thirty-five percent of survey respondents that were infected by malware from social networking sites suffered a financial loss, with more than a third of those companies reporting losses in excess of $5,000.

“Social media is now ubiquitous among SMBs because of its many obvious business benefits, yet these tools don’t come without serious risks,” said Sean-Paul Correll, threat researcher at Panda Security. “In Panda’s first annual Social Media Risk Index, we set out to uncover the top SMB concerns about social media and draw a correlation to actual incidence of malware infection, privacy violations and hard financial losses. While a relatively high number of SMBs have been infected by malware from social sites, we were pleased to see that the majority of companies already have formal governance and education programs in place. These types of policies combined with up to date network security solutions are required to minimize risk and ultimately prevent loss.”

Is it any surprise that Facebook was cited as the top culprit for companies that experienced malware infection (71.6 percent) and privacy violations (73.2 percent)? I know that Facebook has taken some major steps to fix various privacy issues, but, hey, you still have to be very careful on there. YouTube took the second spot for malware infection (41.2 percent), while Twitter contributed to a significant amount of privacy violations (51 percent).

For companies suffering financial losses from employee privacy violations, Facebook was again cited as the most common social media site where these losses occurred (62 percent), followed by Twitter (38 percent), YouTube (24 percent) and LinkedIn (11 percent).

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