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Don't believe the hype says Gartner

Organisations should not let “over-hyped” security threats influence their IT investments, analyst group Gartner has warned.

The analyst used its security conference in the US this week to focus on five security areas it feels are currently over-hyped.

These include voice over IP, mobile malware, “Warhol worms”, regulatory compliance, and unsafe wireless hotspots.

"Many businesses are delaying rolling out high productivity technologies, such as wireless local area networks and IP telephony systems because they have seen so much hype about potential threats," said Gartner analyst Lawrence Orans.

"We've also seen the perceived need to spend on compliance reporting for Sarbanes-Oxley hyped beyond any connection with the reality of the legislation," added John Pescatore, another Gartner analyst.

Gartner said the reality is that security attacks are rare for IP telephony and that the benefits of IP telephony far outweigh any security risks.

With mobile malware, Gartner said firms are only looking at a potential “niche nuisance”.

A "Warhol worm" is a worm that infects all vulnerable machines on the internet within 15 minutes. The "SQL Slammer" worm had a strong impact on the internet in 2003, but this is the only observed example of a "Warhol worm, said Gartner.

Gartner said uneducated consumers can fall prey to wireless hackers, but that enterprises can equip and educate their mobile workers with the tools and knowledge to mitigate these threats, and increase business productivity via hotspot usage.

"Mobile users in hotspots should use their corporate VPN connection to protect traffic as it travels through the internet," Pescatore said.

"Mobile users in hotspots should use personal firewalls and turn off file/print sharing to protect their endpoints from data theft," he said.


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