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fbunn | 17 Jun 2014 | 0 comments

While Communications Service Providers (CSPs) tell their customers they are more than ‘simply' network utilities, it stands to reason that they need to provide similar levels of service to traditional utility companies such as water or energy providers. 

In security terms this means offering a certain level of information protection - as has been said more than once, just as we expect water to come out of our pipes clean, so we expect the same for our information. 

This doesn’t mean that the onus is entirely on the CSP, of course. Across the history of end-point security, providers and software vendors have had to work together to help protect the confidentiality, integrity and availability of data whether it is at rest on a PC, or in transit across the network. 

More recently, the rise of mobile computing has seen handsets start simple and become increasingly complex, meaning that consumers are not always well prepared against...

fbunn | 21 May 2014 | 0 comments

An interesting finding from the Internet Security Threat Report we issued last month concerns companies with 1-2,500 employees - variously grouped as the Small to Medium Business (SMB) sector - who are seeing the largest increase in targeted attacks. These attacks have already increased by 91% year on year; in addition, whereas 50% were aimed at SMBs in 2012, by 2013 the number had increased to 61%.

The clear suggestion - confirmed by other research we have done - is that the creators of such attacks are becoming smarter in terms of understanding how to profit from targeted attacks. As a result they are focusing less on bigger enterprises and more on smaller and mid-size companies, which often have less security countermeasures in place. 

This begs the question - where are such organisations going to get help, and...

Paul Wood | 08 Apr 2014 | 0 comments

In security as in business, information is power. As we put together the latest edition of the Internet Security Threat Report, we wanted to do more than simply throw some figures out there. As a result, Volume 19 presents a comprehensive analysis of last year’s threats according to publicly available information and events within Symantec’s purview, as well as detailed guidance about what security professionals can do in response. 

At the top level of the report, the main finding was a rapid and significant increase in breaches leading to the exposure of individual identities - employee, customer and patient details. Overall a total of 552 million identities were exposed, across 253 significant security breaches. 

Just as significantly, many of these breaches took place in the final quarter of the year, suggesting that we are at the beginning of a slew of such attacks - one of the reasons we felt pressed to include detailed advice in...

tgrandpre | 17 Mar 2014 | 0 comments

Mobile World Congress was an exciting time for Symantec this year, with so much constructive engagement taking place with many of you from the analyst community, particularly around the key areas of Mobile Device Management (MDM), Mobile Application Management (MAM), Mobile Security and Enterprise File Synchronization and Sharing (EFSS).

From my conversations with you, what really seemed to catch your attention were the advances we’ve been making in mobile as a whole. The overall integration between MDM and MAM – and broader solutions that enhance our mobile offerings – many of you agreed were taking things in a new direction.

Most of you seemed more than familiar with Norton Zone already, but it might be worth a quick recap here. Norton Zone is our secure sync and file technology – a personal cloud service that lets users safely share files from your computer, smartphone and tablet. Many of our...

Sian John | 26 Feb 2014 | 0 comments

It can often seem that security measures exist to stop people from doing things, or to try to catch them out if they do. Across organisations, an broadening range of mechanisms can be used to ensure staff are not breaking the rules - raising the increasingly important question - how can security needs be balanced with employee privacy?

The answer is not straightforward. All manner of techniques are available to system administrators, security managers or senior management, including Data Leakage Prevention (DLP) and Deep Packet Inspection, but also extending to simply using privileges to gain access to the content of employee emails.

Not only is the potential for abuse clear and present but also, the corporate environment is becoming more complicated. A person's smartphone may connect to the corporate guest LAN - does this make it fair game for monitoring? What about use of  location information or CCTV, to help process efficiency or monitor for...

FranRosch | 24 Feb 2014 | 0 comments

One of the central challenges of what has been termed 'consumerization' is how to balance the benefits experienced by employees using their own devices and applications, with the inherent risks to the business of doing so. The bottom line is one of cost - while employees may be more productive as a result, working more efficiently and delivering results faster, if something goes wrong the business may be left out of pocket. 

The risks are real. Consider the simple example of someone accessing corporate email on a personal device, against the fact that 60% of mobile device users don't have a pin code. Given that smartphones and tablets are frequent targets for theft, it seems only a matter of time before internal corporate communications, intellectual property, even customer data could end up in the wrong hands.

At the same time, mobile access to data and services really does make people more productive. Even if it were possible, a ban on smart devices...

msmart007 | 13 Feb 2014 | 0 comments

Virtualisation brings enormous benefits to organisations everywhere, fundamentally altering the way in which they do business. It’s not a new concept, of course, but we are now seeing it being applied across areas that go way beyond simply machines and hosts.

Let’s look first at the virtualised world itself and its adoption among organisations: Enterprises are now operating at around 50-55% virtualisation in their data centres, with the goal of taking that to 90% or even higher. It’s a huge opportunity and a massive challenge, especially when it comes to security; because security has always struggled to keep up in the virtualised environment.

Generally speaking, there is a ‘tax’ to be paid when you put security into such an environment and usually that tax relates to performance – everything tends to run much slower. The upshot is that you no longer have the capacity you want and need – which runs counter to the whole point of having virtualisation in the first place...

D Thomson | 12 Feb 2014 | 0 comments

It’s still early days for the Internet of Things (IoT). While some are suggesting a complete revolution in 'smart' physical objects which will change our lives, I don’t think anyone will notice that much of a difference in the short term. Even so, over the next couple of years we will see all kinds of new devices connect to the internet, from plug sockets to plant pot monitors.

Each becomes not just a data source but also, potentially, a controllable device - and as such has a potential security impact. For a start, smart devices inevitably create data, which may need to be protected depending on the risks that surround it. Risk factors may not always be obvious - for example, burglars might be able to hack into a lighting control system to determine if a building is empty, before breaking and entering.

Speaking of which, we have the fact that smart devices are, in fact, tiny computers which can be hacked, corrupted or otherwise abused. We’ve...

Straners | 28 Jan 2014 | 0 comments

While I am generally upbeat about the latest developments in technology, it's also my job to be cynical. Symantec’s customers depend on a certain level of realism, so I don’t feel too bad about pointing out some of the downsides and risks. 

When it comes to software-defined networking, storage and so on - in a nutshell, the ability to orchestrate and control a widening variety of hardware devices and resources - most potential issues boil down to a single question - can software be trusted?

The answer, as Douglas Adams might say, is “mostly harmless”. While software starts simple, it can often become highly complex and, therefore, very difficult to test. Software designed for enterprise-scale use cases inevitably tends to the complex, which is where the problems start. 

If damage does happen, it can do so in a big way. Some organisations may have experienced the avalanche effect that can take place if a poorly constructed patch is rolled...

Kari Ann | 23 Jan 2014 | 1 comment

Over the past couple of years, we have seen social engineering attacks graduate from email to that increasingly prevalent form of communication - social media. By ‘social engineering’ we’re talking about online confidence tricks - anything that can dupe the reader into acting, clicking on a link, giving up personal details or otherwise falling for whatever scam is on offer. 

Through education and experience, we are learning to ignore ‘phishing’ emails pretending to be from our banks and internet service providers. While the rate is up (1 in 414 emails are a phishing attack, Internet Security Threat Report, Volume 18), the number of incidences of breaches is not as high as it was. 

People are increasingly falling for similar forms of attack which take advantage of social media, however. The problem with social sites...