Malware Study: Porn Viruses Found On 40 Percent Of Senior Executives' Computers

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ThreatTrack Security, a cybersecurity firm based in Clearwater, Fla., published a study that analyzed the origins of malware infection on corporate computer networks. The ThreatTrack study found that 40 percent of malware analysts have removed malware that originated from a senior executive visiting a pornographic website.

The 200 malware analysts surveyed reported that defending companies against malware has gotten easier, but infections are increasingly coming from internal reasons. In addition to looking at porn, malware infections come from executives downloading malicious apps, letting family members use the company computer, and attaching an infected mobile device to a PC.

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The No. 1 cause was from analysts clicking on malicious links in phishing emails. This may not be surprising, as these types of attacks are believed to be the cause of a number of high-profile hacks, such as one that shut down the New York Times’ website.

“Malware analysts and CISOs face enough challenges trying to protect their companies’ networks from external threats,” ThreatTrack said in the study. “They certainly don’t need internal forces hindering those efforts. Yet that seems to be what’s happening, with senior executives who let family members use corporate PCs and can’t keep away from pornographic websites.”

While it is sort of amusing to think about bosses hurting their own company with porn, the study also found that 57 percent of malware infections are not disclosed to customers, partners or stakeholders. This is troubling, especially considering that many companies probably store personal information about their customers on their computer systems.

The report found that manufacturing and utility companies were least likely to disclose a breach to customers, with telecommunications and health care companies also ranking high. About 66 percent of companies with more than 500 employees didn’t report malware infections.

Still though, who are these executives that think it’s a good idea to look at porn at work? Perhaps the temptation provided by a private office is just too much to ignore.

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