More than one in six businesses has been hit by hacking tools or keyloggers – spyware that obtains passwords and usernames by registering users’ keystrokes as they type – research by security experts has shown.
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The number of businesses where staff have launched keyloggers has risen since last year, according to the research, commissioned by security firm Websense and carried out by pollster Harris Interactive.
The survey of more than 350 IT managers and 500 employees at US firms with more than 100 employees found that 17% of businesses had been hit by keyloggers or other hacking tools, compared with 12% last year.
The research also highlighted IT managers’ concerns about bots – software that is installed on a user’s PC without their knowledge and communicates with a “command and control” centre used by hackers to launch attacks.
Only 34% of IT managers said they were very or extremely confident that they could prevent bots from infecting PCs when they not connected to the corporate network, while nearly one in five said company-owned PCs or laptops had been infected with a bot.
IT managers were divided over tackling the bot threat, which is still relatively new. The survey found that 62% of IT managers worked for companies where bot traffic was filtered, while 14% did not and 24% were unsure.