Others also say traditional host-based antimalware is not as valuable to them that it once was because the main problems they face are coming from Web-based malware.
"We were having a lot of infections in our environment, one to two, sometimes three infections per week," says Albert Gore, director of information technology operations at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. He doubts most desktop antivirus software, including the McAfee software used at the Kennedy Center, can do much against the malicious code that can be inadvertently spread via employee, contractor, and the performing artists using the Web.
Facebook and YouTube are the two biggest sources of infections in the experience of the Kennedy Center, Gore says. Infections mean "you have to go find out what happened, quarantine them, find out if data has been stolen, if any," he says. Malware attack episodes have shown people do lose files or find them deleted. However, the performing arts center needs to use social networking in its business.
The Kennedy Center found its virus-infection flare-ups were largely stamped out by using a Web filtering gateway. The one in use today, the Websense Web Security Gateway, lets the IT department provide broad access to social networking sites and the Web in general but blocks specific links that are dangerous sources of malware.
The Kennedy Center is hardly alone in coping with Web-based malware incidents.
According to a survey of 382 IT professionals published this week, 78 percent said their organizations had experienced at least one malware attack during the last 12 months, with a common experience being a malware attack every 73 days.
The survey, done by Osterman Research and sponsored by M86 Security, said 97 percent of the respondents indicated their organizations used a desktop antivirus product of some sort, but just 60 percent used a secure Web gateway. The most reported type of malware attack was traced to an infection from the Web, according to 70 percent. Fake software, such as fake antivirus, ranked high. Twenty-seven percent said their malware problems had increased over the past 12 months, and only 9 percent said it had decreased.
The survey found that 76 percent reported the need to re-image computers after malware attacks, and the typical malware attack requires a mean of 27.5 IT person-hours to remediate. It was also noted that 12 percent of employees in the average victimized organization had their work disrupted while a malware-related problem was being remediated.
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