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Symantec Analyst Relations
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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...

msmart007 | 02 Apr 2014 | 1 comment

Microsoft’s decision to switch off all support for Windows XP, some dozen years after it first made its entrance, is a momentous one. Those who have doggedly stuck by this much loved operating system, failing to be enticed into the arms of Vista, Windows 7 and Windows 8, will receive no further free updates or security patches (as of April 8, 2014).  

Lots of software goes down the end-of-life path, of course, and disappears into the mists, to be replaced by the latest updates. But, to paraphrase a major retailer’s advertising slogan, ‘This is no ordinary software. This is XP software’ – an OS that, by latest calculations, is still run by something like a quarter to one-third of desktops globally. And waiting in the dark corners for the plug to be pulled have been the cyber criminals, ready to leap in and exploit the situation. In fact, they...

D Thomson | 27 Mar 2014 | 0 comments

I believe that the IT industry will, in the future, hold far more responsibility for radical changes to culture and society than ever before. The Internet of Things (IoT) will see humanity take a new foundation on which to build things (the Internet) and start to create architectures and services that fundamentally change the way we live our lives. Just in the past few weeks, I have spoken to entrepreneurs and large businesses that are seeding technological concepts that could, eventually, touch all of us in very meaningful and real ways. It is difficult (especially for a technologist like me) not to get excited about self-driving cars that learn from each other, connected homes that allow us to remotely monitor and control our personal spaces and smart meters that have a profound impact on a nations energy consumption. But, as I have discussed before, there are likely to be unintended consequences to all of these ideas that technologists (even the really clever ones) are likely to...

Straners | 26 Mar 2014 | 0 comments

I’ve been thinking about data a lot recently. Nothing unusual there - it’s my job after all, and given the way data is growing at the moment, the term ‘big data’ is a regular on the daily buzzword bingo card. What’s really been making me think however, is not so much the quantities of data, but where it all is and how we can access it. 

The volumes of data being stored in online media sites such as YouTube or Vimeo, the blogs, content and status updates across social networks, the events and transactional traffic being generated by advertisers and devices are all creating an online pool that is dwarfing the overall volumes being stored inside corporate data centres. 

Such resources present a rich seam, which is increasingly available to be mined, as examples such as Amazon providing access to “Open datasets” via EC2 illustrate. Add to this the vast pools of governmental data - across transport and other public services - being opened up...

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...

msmart007 | 06 Mar 2014 | 0 comments

Cyber attacks are headline news everywhere we look, highlighting companies that have been brought to their knees by such assaults, while independent organisations like the World Economic Forum and Lloyds are publishing business risk registers where Cyber Risk is now in the top 10 (Lloyds Risk Register has it at number 3).

It’s this type of daily bombardment that is putting Cyber top of mind. This is a good thing. Because, if that gets the attention of businesses and has them rushing to respond, then at least those horror stories are serving a useful purpose. But sometimes it’s hard to respond to requests from the board to demonstrate the value that IT brings or to articulate your organisation’s Cyber Risk posture in the language that business understands. At the same time, loading up your systems with technology that’s designed to keep the cyber criminals out is not the solution. Nor is the assumption that IT can keep your business safe the best way forward. Because, no...

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...

Orla Cox | 20 Feb 2014 | 0 comments

As a wise man once said, “Never put down to malice what can be ascribed to stupidity.” This adage could easily be applied to the founders of ‘hackers for hire’ web site, who were arrested  by the FBI on (strong, it has to be said) suspicion of running a web site which stole passwords to email accounts.

Is ‘stupid’ too strong? Given the fact that the site used Paypal as a payment mechanism, probably. The pair didn’t go particularly out off their way to cover their tracks, and even had terms and conditions on their web site which warned users against illegal use of their services.

The Arkansas duo weren’t the only people involved in what amounted to an internationally co-ordinated investigation, covering the USA, Romania, India and China. Security experts often point out...

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...