IM the weakest link in security, says Symantec survey

  • 29% of respondents send info over IM that they ‘would not want their boss to know about’
  • Company releases IM security product with support for Microsoft Lync

IM the weakest link in security, says Symantec surveyA RECENT Symantec survey on corporate Instant Messaging use found that IM poses significant risk to organizations, the security software specialist said in a statement.
Approximately 60% of respondents use IM to communicate with contacts outside the organization and 43% use it to share content not related to work. A further 29% reported using IM to send information they would not want their boss to know about.
“Instant Messaging is becoming a popular tool for internal and external communications and is used widely by the increasingly mobile workforce in Malaysia,” said Alex Ong (pic), country director of Symantec Malaysia.
“However, it also has security risks which cannot be overlooked by organizations,” he added. “Symantec Intelligence showed that one in 11.3 links sent over IM link to malicious websites. In addition, Symantec’s Instant Messaging survey revealed that fewer than half of the organizations surveyed have suitable controls for monitoring IM.”
Symantec announced the availability of Symantec Instant Messaging ( with support for Microsoft Lync. scans messages and attachments for malware, blocks malicious URLs, protects organizations from data loss and logs messages for compliance purposes without the need for additional hardware and software, the company claimed.
“The open and informal nature of IM communications paired with a tendency to de-prioritize IM security leaves organizations susceptible to compliance breaches, data loss and malware infection,” said Ong.
“ takes the risk out of IM so that companies can meet user demand for the latest technology while allowing a flexible and collaborative working environment anytime and from anywhere.” is designed to scan every IM sent to or coming from an organization. Incoming messages, including attachments, are scanned for viruses, worms and URLs which may lead to malicious websites.
All incoming and outgoing messages are also matched against the organization’s acceptable use policies. Any message that is malicious or suspicious or violates corporate policy is automatically blocked and the user is notified, Symantec said.
Symantec Instant Messaging is available now worldwide. The service can be purchased on its own or in combination with other services across email and Web and includes 24/7 support and service updates.

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