Cape Town - Nearly half of firms globally are not prepared for cyber threats on their networks, research has shown.
Research conducted by B2B International in conjunction with security company Kaspersky Lab showed that while firms recognise the threat from cyber crime, over 40% are not actively engaged in protecting themselves from an attack.
"According to the survey, in 41% of cases the answer is 'no' - corporate infrastructure lacks the necessary protection to handle online attacks," Kaspersky Lab said.
Corporate attacks are becoming more dangerous, particularly where there are real world targets such as the Iranian nuclear facilities attacked by the Stuxnet worm and the follow-up Flame malware that had specific targets.
The firm also identified additional malware linked to the Flame virus and that development of the code went as far back as 2006.
Kaspersky said the latest analysis shows that "at least three other Flame-related malicious programs were created" but added that "their nature is currently unknown".
According to the survey, employees are not sufficiently aware of the risks of malware.
"Only 27% of business representatives had heard about the first example of the modern cyber weapon - Stuxnet; fewer still knew about the Trojan Duqu designed for the targeted collection of confidential information (13%)," said Kaspersky.
Civil servants in Taiwan were put through a mandatory internet security course after failing a company test on spam.
Nearly one sixth, or 1 000, of the New Taipei City employees opened an e-mail purporting to contain a sex video of a local celebrity.
Cyber criminals often use methods that rely on human behaviour to gain entry to otherwise secure systems.
"They send mail to executives, HR [human resources] guys, financial guys who are less technical with some interesting PDF file or Excel file, trying to give you some interesting information.
"Non-very-technical people open it and infect their computers and then it propagates inside the network," Sergey Novikov, head of Kaspersky Lab Global Research and Analysis Team told News24.