Most businesses do not see employee use of spyware, file sharing, and instant messaging on corporate networks as "major problems", despite documented threats.
The disturbing findings are from a survey of firms independently conducted on behalf of security firm Secure Computing.
The survey, "Hidden Hazards: Business attitudes toward new internet security threats", found that only 25% of firms recognised spyware as a major problem - despite widespread warnings about such software that covertly gathers user information through the user's internet connection without their knowledge. And 70% of IT managers say spyware is "no problem" or a "minor problem".
A recent report by Dell found that spyware accounts for 12% of all its PC desktop support calls. But still, 70% of the Secure Computing survey respondents saw spyware as either no problem or a minor problem.
P2P file sharing can be illegal if the music downloads or other content are protected by copyright and not paid for, with firms responsible if employees have downloaded the content on corporate PCs.
But 90% of firms saw file-sharing software as not a major problem, and a surprising 40% said it was no problem.
Instant messaging (IM) and personal e-mail accounts are often cited by security experts as sources of data loss, information leaks and the backdoor entrance into networks for viruses and worms.
Yet 90% of respondents said IM as no problem or a minor problem, and 80% felt personal e-mail accounts were no problem or a minor problem.
"Enterprises of all sizes can benefit from web filtering software, not just to block out pornography, but to protect against other online security threats, such as malicious code, spyware and hacking sites," said Steve Miller, vice-president of worldwide marketing for Secure Computing.
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