SA firms lose data in software breaches

2014-01-15 14:01
Kaspersky Lab does analysis of malware threats at its offices in Moscow. (Duncan Alfreds, News24)

Kaspersky Lab does analysis of malware threats at its offices in Moscow. (Duncan Alfreds, News24)

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Cape Town - More than a third of South African companies have had data breaches as a result of software vulnerabilities, a security firm has reported.

According to research by Kaspersky Lab, vulnerable software creates data security issues in 35% of companies, with 11% reporting critical data leaks.

"Vulnerabilities in legitimate software programs are a major source of corporate computer infections and critical data leakage. Approximately 35% of the survey participants in South Africa said that over the past 12 months, this had been the case at least once for their organisations," Kaspersky said of the data reported in its Global Corporate IT Security Risks 2013 survey.

The survey was conducted by B2B International in 2013, and though the incidents of data breaches has fallen dramatically from 51% in 2011, the magnitude of the leaks may pose a security risk to a company's intellectual property.

The survey results are especially worrying as the vulnerabilities were identified in licensed software.

Zero Day

According to a Times report, the US National Security Agency has discreetly implanted software in thousands of computers around the world to monitor activities.

Despite this, the narrative from Washington implies that the Chinese government is engaged in the most prolific spying programme on government agencies.

The Kaspersky research noted that the country with the highest incidence of data breaches as a result of software vulnerabilities was Russia at 51%, followed by companies in Asian countries at 53%, and North American firms at 38%.

It is not known whether the vulnerabilities that led to the breaches were intentionally placed there by developers or whether the software code was exploited by hackers in a so-called Zero Day attack.

These attacks occur when a vulnerability has been identified, but the developer has not yet released a patch for the software.

In 2013, security firm Trustwave identified a zero day vulnerability in Microsoft's Internet Explorer browser that could be used to remotely install malware on computers.


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Read more on:    kaspersky lab  |  cybercrime
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