Malware and poor passwords ranked as greatest threats

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Today’s IT security and authentication professionals have less confidence and greater security concerns for their organizations than last year, according to a recent study by PhoneFactor. The company surveyed more than 250 information technology professionals regarding threats, authentication and possible solutions to today’s security issues.

Key findings of the study include:

  • Nearly one-third of responds felt malware installed on PCs posed the greatest external threat to their company’s IT security in the next 12 months. Another 16.60 percent indicated that malware on mobile devices presented the greatest threat. Together, 57.60 percent of respondents felt malware (on PCs or mobile devices) was the greatest data security threat today. Poor password policies ranked second at 27.67 percent.
  • Nearly three-fourths (72.08 percent) of respondents don’t believe a username and password are adequate to protect access to corporate data.
  • Nearly two-thirds of companies ranked IT security “high” on their priority list, a 15.56 percent increase over the previous year’s survey.
  • nly 35 percent of respondents feel their company’s current authentication system is “very” or “extremely” secure – a 16.62 percent decrease from last year. As security threats continue to increase, this inversely related danger-to-confidence relationship poses a huge threat to many businesses and consumers.
  • One in four (25 percent) respondents reported that their company’s network or data had been compromised, up from one in five (20 percent), from last year.
  • More than half (57.36 percent) of respondents believe users would prefer to carry a cell phone over other two-factor authentication devices, including a security token or fob, a USB token or fob, a grid card, or a smart card. In fact, the majority of respondents – 70.31 percent – agreed with Wired’s statement that security tokens are a “top 10 worst gadget ever.”
  • More than two-thirds of respondents feel that their employer is either “extremely” or “very” responsible for protecting their personal or financial information. That number increases to more than 75 percent when asked about giving outside companies access to personal information as general consumers. In fact, a whopping 51.50 percent reported they feel businesses are “extremely” responsible for protecting their personal information.

“The survey results were clear – organizations need heightened security now, more than ever,” said Steve Dispensa, CTO of PhoneFactor. “The rapid rise in malware and cyber attacks, insecurity of username and password identification and users’ disdain for one-time-passcode (OTP) tokens, make out-of-band authentication a great solution for companies looking to increase security without building adoption barriers, such as price or difficulty of use.”