A survey of 4,640 organizations by research firm the Ponemon Institute showed that companies and organizations are more at risk from virus and malware attacks because their employees are using Facebook, Twitter, and other social networking websites while on the job. Security firm Websense, based in San Diego, sponsored the survey carried out by the Ponemon Institute, which is based in Traverse City, Michigan.
More than 50 percent of the organizations who took part in the survey said there were more computer attacks because of employees using social media sites at the workplace, and about 25 percent said the number of attacks increased by more than 50 percent.
The report, called “Global Survey on Social Media Risks”, found many organizations are not adequately prepared to manage the higher risks that come with increased use of social media by their employees at the workplace.
Larry Ponemon said many organizations do not yet have an ‘acceptable use’ policy in place. Ponemon, who is chairman and founder of the Ponemon Institute, stressed that if a company does have social media rules established: “a policy that isn’t vigorously enforced isn’t meaningful.” Ponemon’s survey of information technology employees working in organizations in countries including Brazil, Germany, and the United States discovered that just 35 percent had a policy in place regarding use of social media at work and only 35 percent of these companies enforced it.
Websense said that malware and virus attacks use simple methods to trick users into downloading malicious programs. Websense researcher Patrik Runald explained the Click Trick: “Most attacks are socially engineered driven.” Users must be enticed or tricked into clicking on a picture or video “which takes you to a page off of Facebook, where they trick you into downloading something.”
The report also said nearly 60 percent of the organizations surveyed had to increase their bandwidth because of their employees’ use of social media, and in the United States, employees spent about 62 minutes every work day using social media websites for personal reasons, and 37 minutes for work reasons.
Workers in Germany were more conservative with their Facebook playtime – employees there spent just 19 minutes every day on social media sites for non-work reasons, compared to 37 minutes for work reasons. Sixty-seven percent of respondents said social media was necessary and important for achieving business objectives.