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Tuesday, 02 June 2009 20:00

Nine out of ten Work computers fail on basic security

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Sophos' Endpoint Assessment Test is available for anyone to run on their PC for free.  Today, Sophos has made available a limited view of the results; and it's not pretty. AVG Sophos
Considering that Sophos finds a newly infected website every 4.5 seconds , or that AVG reports the registration of something over 250,000 websites per day for nefarious purposes (most of which are dropped within a couple of days), it isn't an easy task keeping up with the wide range of sources of web threats.

The Sophos Endpoint Assessment Test  is free and includes automatic updates for a 30-day period.

Results from an undisclosed number of corporate responses to the Sophos test between April 2008 and April 2009 showed that 85% of PCs had some form of current malware protection.  Unfortunately, of the remainder only 5% have nothing at all.  The other 10% are even worse – out-of-date software.

Just 37% of those surveyed were fully up-to-date with all patches and less that 50% had a current operating firewall.

Overall just 10% of the PCs passed all three tests.

I have to admit, these numbers are really no surprise - particularly the out-of-date malware protection.  Some years ago, I ran a home PC support business and was constantly astonished to see 3-year-old (or more) trial packs of anti-virus software that had never been updated; although the PC owners would always assure me they were fully protected.

Graham Cluley, Sophos' Senior Technology Consultant notes in his blog that in addition to the previous figures, nearly 60% of PCs were missing OS patches, grading down to a mere 7.1% missing flash player updates.

You won't be surprised that Sophos (and AVG) have a solution.


Sophos' "Security and Data Protection" suite includes full disk encryption, control of devices, applications, network access control and malware protection.

"IT teams are quick to tell us that their existing security products are too complex to manage, and when they encounter issues, they then must deal with poor support from their current security vendors," said Steve Munford, chief executive officer at Sophos. "Combine these frustrations with the fact that many companies are rethinking their security strategy to better address data loss concerns, and therein exists a tremendous market opportunity for Sophos."

Similarly, AVG offers a full suite of endpoint protection the "AVG Internet Security" product includes identity theft protection, web protection, chat protection, anti-virus, anti-spyware, anti-spam, anti-rootkit, and a two-way firewall.  In addition, the free LinkScanner product pre-loads every requested web page and tests it for malicious content prior to delivering it to the browser.

With products such as these, there is no excuse for being unprotected on the web.

Oh, and Windows users?  Turn on automatic updates!

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David Heath

David Heath has had a long and varied career in the IT industry having worked as a Pre-sales Network Engineer (remember Novell NetWare?), General Manager of IT&T for the TV Shopping Network, as a Technical manager in the Biometrics industry, and as a Technical Trainer and Instructional Designer in the industrial control sector. In all aspects, security has been a driving focus. Throughout his career, David has sought to inform and educate people and has done that through his writings and in more formal educational environments.

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