With The 70% Rise In Social Malware, Should Your Company Block Facebook?

If you are an IT network administrator at a large company, then there are certain web sites that you must decide to block, for the safety of the company’s Intranet.

Each company makes their own decision on what to block, whether it is certain software or access to certain web pages.

Most of the time, when they block these web sites, there is usually a good reason.

social-malware

There is usually a known security problem with the application or web site in question.

Sometimes they block a web site just because it is not conducive to the work environment.

Now there is a real popular web site that may come under the chopping block of several major large corporations.

And the employees will not be happy with this decision at all.

Should Companies Block Facebook?

The web site that is up for serious discussion is Facebook.

According to the 2010 Sophos security report, companies that allow their workers to go to Facebook, have seen a 70% rise of malware on their network computers.

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This is an alarming statistic.

This is not something that a network administrator can take lightly.

There is a lot of vital information that may be on the company’s servers and an employee’s right to access a social media site during work hours should not override that.

When Facebook introduced their third party application network, there were huge security holes that were introduced.

This is now starting to be a problem for corporations and also some home users.

Now the number, 70%, can be misleading in this case.

Spam Is Annoying But Less Of An Issue

That number not only includes malware but spam as well.

Spam is not considered especially dangerous, but it can have some harmful elements to it.

Also it can clog up the companies network, taking up valuable bandwidth.

Even though the actual malware number may not be as high as 70%, it still is a pretty high number and must cause alarm.

The hackers know that there are people in the corporations that use the social networks.

So some may be ambitious enough to also try to penetrate the corporate network through the employee and try to pull corporate secrets.

IT administrators have a big decision to make when it comes to blocking Facebook on their corporate networks or not.

A choice such as this can make a lot of users become very unhappy.

They will not understand the security risk that is involved.

This is why, if you decide to block it from the network, you must then explain to them why it has be done.

They will probably still be upset, but will get over it a lot quicker.

About Lee Munson

Lee's non-technical background allows him to write about internet security in a clear way that is understandable to both IT professionals and people just like you who need simple answers to your security questions.

Comments

  1. Thing is if your at work being paid by a company to do a job you shouldnt be on Facebook or any other SN website doing your personal thing. You are in a way stealing from the company you work for – stealing time you are being paid for by the company.
    Companies should an have every right to block social networking websites.

    • Good point there Dave – there is a lot of discussion about how to access social networks at work and how bad employers are for blocking them but they surely have every right to do so don’t they?

  2. I’m a consultant working with Palo Alto Networks, a network security company that helps enterprises manage social networking apps on the corporate network. IT departments are stuck between a rock and a hard place. They know that end-users and the business units will revolt if these apps are outright blocked. At the same time, they know these apps carry risks and can’t leave them unchecked. It requires a good balance between enablement and security. There is a good whitepaper on the subject of blocking social networking apps, “To Block or Not. Is that the question?”
    http://bit.ly/d2NZRp
    It has lots of insightful and useful information about identifying and controlling Enterprise 2.0 apps (Facebook, Twitter, Skype, AIM, SharePoint, etc.)
    Let me know what you think!
    Kelly@briefworld.com
    Share it with your IT Dept.

Trackbacks

  1. […] Facebook has had their share of privacy issues in the past with the Beacon program and the ability of advertisers to be able to use a friends profile as a recommendation engine for their products. […]

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