AVG Continues SMB Focus With Online Security Audit

AVG has launched the Online Security Audit, as the Internet security firm seeks to take the fight to corporate cyber-crime.

The free audit is designed to provide SMBs (small and midsize businesses) with tailored reports on their security needs, helping them to understand and protect against the dangers of cyber-crime. Businesses can access AVG’s platform to get their tailored security plan by visiting the company’s website.

According to recent research from the company’s Market Landscape Report 2010, SMBs are increasingly becoming targets for cyber-criminals: The report found 25 percent of SMBs have been subject to a security breach, and more than 14 percent of SMBs do not have security software installed, leaving their business open to potential attacks.

Five Doorways

“Our Online Security Audit is a major step forward in our battle against corporate cyber-crime. In line with our bid to help small businesses, we’ve also highlighted five doorways through which cyber-criminals can access company data,” said Robert Gorby, AVG’s global head of small business propositions. “These doors need to be slammed shut, to prevent businesses from becoming the latest victims of cyber-crime.”

Those five doorways include threats to companies from social networking sites, instant messaging and spam chat, insider threats, unsecured remote machines, and USB security threats. AVG’s LinkScanner helps companies avoid clicking on infected leaks. Users are far more likely to click an infected link if it comes from a trusted colleague or friend. Forty percent of companies allow access to social networking technology, but only 23 percent say that they have appropriate security policies in place, according to the company’s research.

Since viruses and other malware can be hidden in files sent via instant messaging and because some IM services link the screen name to the email address when a user registers, this can result in an increased number of spam and phishing attacks: AVG recommends avoiding use of an email address that can be identified by an IM username. Although businesses might be more concerned about shadowy cyber-criminals, employees are responsible for introducing the majority of malware onto company networks, which AVG says can be reduced by using advanced tools to conduct criminal history and social security searches to ensure employees are totally trustworthy.

Virtual Safety

AVG also recommends using virtualisation technology to create a virtual safe-zone within company hardware–such as an embassy in a foreign country–but noted it might be simpler and more effective to establish a strong set of security, antivirus controls and audit procedures. Finally, AVG warned plug-in memory USB sticks are particularly good at spreading malware. They appear innocuous compared to a laptop or smartphone but can hold several gigabytes of code – some of which may be malicious: Removable devices can be automatically checked using AVG software or users can choose to run a manual scan before accessing any of the files on the stick.

Earlier this year the company announced the launch of its Business Resource Centre, a free online resource for businesses, including guides, tips and software downloads, aimed at helping them combat the dangers of Internet crime. Internet Security 2011 Business Edition and Anti-Virus 2011 Business Edition are based on the company’s People Powered Protection design model; incorporating feedback from AVG’s global community of more than 110 million users, the product suite includes enhanced web and social network protection, a user-friendly interface, and a faster, nimble and more powerful design.

Nathan Eddy

Nathan Eddy is a contributor to eWeek and TechWeekEurope, covering cloud and BYOD

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