SC Webcast: Cleaning malware infections becomes a weekly job, as reality of helpdesk enquiries exposed

News by SC Staff

Malicious attacks account for a third of IT support tickets, according to a poll in a recent SC Magazine webcast.

Malicious attacks account for a third of IT support tickets, according to a poll in a recent SC Magazine webcast.

Of the various threats to contend with, the question posed to the 350-strong audience of the webcast Today's Top 10 Threats Unmasked was which are responsible for the most IT support tickets: malware/virus attacks; changes made by user to configuration settings; system issues with unauthorised applications downloaded; or other?

The first accounted for 36 per cent of the response. Bryan Littlefair, group technology security director at Vodafone Group, predicted that this would be the most likely, as if users can make changes, then you are going to have a problem with malware, especially if you allow administrator access on PCs that are infected.

Littlefair said: “Malware is always going to stay, we have got anti-virus products out there that are the best of the best, but they are still only 40 per cent effective. You've got polymorphic malware, you've got zero-day attacks and everything to deal with, so that is never going to go away.”

Adrian Davis, principal research analyst at ISF, said that he expected that malware/virus attacks or changes made by user to configuration settings was the biggest issue, but he expected ‘system issues with unauthorised applications downloaded' to be a bigger issue in the future.

“Everyone can download something from the App Store so I wouldn't be surprised if we started seeing a changed emphasis. One of the things we see helpdesks are not equipped to deal with is the sheer number of platforms that are out there,” he said.

Littlefair said that he agreed with what Davis said, as there will be a ‘tilt' where the IT manager loses control of the device.

Another poll asked how often malware infections or mis-configurations were being resolved on an employee's PC, to which 69 per cent said this was a weekly occurrence for a small number of computers.

Thurstan Johnston, head of engineering at Faronics, who presented during the webcast, said that often it is the same PCs or users that are infected, which makes it easy to identify the weak points, but it is a pain for IT to be constantly updating the same machines.

Johnston‘s presentation revealed that whilst 42 per cent of the mailboxes targeted for attack are high-level executives, senior managers and people in R&D, the majority of attacks are being aimed at people without direct access to confidential information who are serving as ‘back doors into even well-protected companies'.

Listen to the SC webcast by clicking here.

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