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March Madness Major Threat To Network Security

IT managers are being warned to prepare for users to be secretly watching streaming video, monitoring scores in real-time, and even placing online bets -- all at their desks.
The problem, though, is scarier than just lost time, says Kelley, who points to the recent trend of hackers targeting sporting events by sending out waves of spam, malware, and phishing attacks, luring users in with sports-related subject lines and video promises. Earlier this month, the Miami Dolphin Stadium Web site, which played host to Super Bowl XLI, was infiltrated by a hacker who for a week was trying to hijack visitors with un-patched Windows PCs.

"Can you imagine if someone who works at a bank goes to a malicious site and accidentally downloads a key logger, and they start losing all of this financial data?" asks Kelley. "It's beyond productivity at this point. If you don't have the right solution in place, even if you don't want to temper your employees' enthusiasm during sporting events, it makes sense to make sure you're blocking the security risks that are out there."

Websense analysts estimate that 80% to 90% of large enterprises have policies regulating or even banning Internet usage for personal reasons in the workplace. Between 50% and 60% of them have technology in place to enforce those policies. But what about all the people who are working on the road or at home? And what about all the companies that don't have technology in place to control Web use, or don't even have a policy at all?

Kelley says they're at high risk for getting hit with any number of viruses that could open up systems to remote control or shut them down altogether.

"First, you've got to have a policy and then make sure your end users are educated about it," says Kelley. "But you've also got to educate them about the risks of visiting these sites. You've got to tell them to be careful of what sites they're going to. Be extra careful if they want to visit a non-official site that someone may have given them a link to."