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Malware Is Infiltrating Businesses Through Social Media

By Jonathan R. Tung, Esq. | Last updated on

While you're reading this in the office, do you also have a Facebook window open? Are you Facebooking at work? You could be putting your law firm's security and data at risk.

It's true. Malware has found weaknesses in social media security to infiltrate business organizations.

Social Media Is Everywhere

There's a proliferation social media apps and programs out there -- so much so that it often is just easier to remember the biggies: Facebook, WhatsApp, Twitter, Skype, etc. Of those named, Facebook already has as many users as the entire population of China, and there doesn't seem to be any indication that it'll slow down anytime soon.

That's a lot of attention and eyeballs. In the new "Best Practices for Social Media Archiving and Security" survey from Osterman Research, numbers indicate that social media use in organizations is rampant and that its use threatens the security of many companies. The suggestion is that malware has found a new Trojan Horse to utilize.

Playing Catch-Up

It takes time to change organization policies even if policy makers are putting the pedal to the metal. The Osterman paper found that only about half of the organizations surveyed actually had a written policy governing employee use of public social networks and about the same for company social media use. This is in disconnect with the numbers of companies that use social media actively for their businesses: about 82 percent.

Michael Osterman, the company's namesake, said that the numbers aren't really all that surprising. In his opinion, social media growth has essentially just grown "organically" and so IT has had to play catch-up by trimming back employee use or watching more closely company policies and use of social media.

Malware Warning

And then there's malware. Approximately 20 percent of organization surveyed said that they had a malware attack through social media; and about a quarter of the group said that they had no idea where the attack originated. Osterman described these numbers as "not out of line in context of other ingress points like email or Web surfing." Though this doesn't exactly square point the finger at employees, it certainly makes employees appear to be a weak link.

He proposes tighter controls on employee use of social media. Organization should find out why and how social media is being used, tighten up security, and tighten up even further use of company data and archiving. What this basically means is that your firm or company is about to get a lot more top-down about how and when you can peruse your social media account on the job.

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