Collaboration portals may pose threat

A recent survey points to a lack of awareness around protecting document-collaboration portals such as Microsoft SharePoint against viruses, worms and malicious code, according to information security firm Sybari Software Inc, which sponsored the study.

The survey of more than 160 IT managers and administrators found that more than 80 percent of companies polled already have or are planning to utilize a corporate intranet or collaboration portal. The results indicated that although 93 percent of the companies have file-server protection, just 61 percent thought that virus protection is necessary for their installed collaboration portal servers. These statistics display a clear gap in awareness around potential threats that can leverage collaboration environments to propagate malicious code throughout a company’s entire network, said Sybari.

While collaboration systems reduce messaging overhead, they also bypass antivirus and content scanning currently deployed in the vast majority of e-mail environments and file servers. Survey responses indicated that 41 percent of network administrators view collaboration portal antivirus technology as redundant, assuming their desktop-specific antivirus products will check for exploits and vulnerabilities. Some collaboration systems, however, allow users to check out and alter documents without ever storing the information on their desktops. Desktop antivirus programs don’t have the opportunity to scan these documents. And if infected, these documents can propagate viruses and worms throughout the organization.

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