30 Sep 2011

Social media use could cause security problems for companies

Internet security could be affected by the use of social media websites such as Facebook and Twitter, according to a study by the Poneman Institute.

The study said that of 4,640 organizations surveyed, more than half said attacks on compute systems grew as more workers started using social media. About a quarter of the respondents said the attacks grew by more than 50 percent, according to the report.

Many organizations said they were poorly equipped to handle the internet security risks that came with social media. Only 35 percent of companies surveyed, which included companies in the U.S., Brazil, India and others, had a policy on social media. Of the companies that have a policy on social media, only 35 percent enforce it.

“A lot of organizations still didn’t have an acceptable use policy,” said Larry Ponemon, chairman and founder of the Michigan research firm. He said with companies with the policies in place, they are not "vigorously enforced."

Patrick Runald, a researcher at San Diego-based company Websense, told the San Francisco Chronicle that most attacks are socially engineered with users enticed to click on a video that leads to a website off of Facebook where something could be downloaded onto the computer. Users should attempt to avoid these attacks by keeping updated antivirus software.