Web malware a rising threat for enterprises

April 19, 2013

For the first time, web malware has overtaken network worms as the top threat facing enterprises today, highlighting the importance of vulnerability management in organisations.

Volume 14 of the Microsoft Security Intelligence Report (SIRv14) has found that while network worms are still posing a threat to enterprises, they have been surpassed by web-based threats.

According to to a company blog post which accompanied the release of SIRv14, web-based threats such as Iframeref have increased by 32 per cent compared with the results for domain-joined/enterprise computers last year.

In addition, during the same period, the percentage of Conficker and Autorun (computer worms which target the Microsoft Windows operating system) threats reported by domain-joined computers decreased by 37 per cent.

During the second half of last year, seven out of the top ten threats affecting enterprises were reported to be associated with "malicious or compromised websites".

"The enterprise has traditionally put a lot of effort into dealing with network worms, commonly mitigated with configuration and policy changes, and passwords, along with device and network share control," Microsoft's Vidya Sekhar wrote in the April 17 blog post.

"While still a threat to organisations, out latest threat intelligence report, SIRv14, shows these traditional network worms are being superseded by web-based threats."

According to the results from the report, Microsoft's SmartScreen Filter detected 5.1 phishing sites per 1,000 internet hosts worldwide during the fourth quarter of last year, with Australia ranking as one of the locations with "higher than average" concentrations of phishing sites (9.1 sites per 1,000 hosts).

In addition, SmartScreen Filter detected 10.8 malware hosting sites per 1,000 internet hosts worldwide during the same quarter.

On the other hand, vulnerability disclosures across the industry were down by 7.8 per cent from the first half of 2012, although this was largely because of a decrease in application vulnerability disclosures.

Despite this, the number of computers reporting exploits (malicious codes that take advantage of software vulnerabilities) delivered through HTML or JavaScript remained at a high level during the second half of 2012.

In order to ensure that your organisation doesn't fall prey to cyber criminals, you may want to consult a trusted security solutions provider to help you conduct a thorough security audit.

Other measures such as penetration testing and even ethical hacking may be used to assess the strength of your ICT network security policy – identifying any potential flaws before they can be exploited.

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