Cybercrime, Hiring, Broadband Investment All on the Rise

CIOs Reveal Q4 Hiring Plans

Technology executives expect information technology (IT) hiring to continue in the fourth quarter of 2011, according to the just-released Robert Half Technology IT Hiring Index and Skills Report.

In the latest quarterly survey, 12 percent of CIOs said they plan to expand their IT departments, and 6 percent expect cutbacks for a net 6 percent projected increase in hiring activity. This is up two points from the previous quarter’s projections.

The IT Hiring Index and Skills Report is based on telephone interviews with more than 1,400 CIOs from companies across the United States with 100 or more employees. Executives were asked whether their companies plan to increase or decrease the number of full-time IT personnel on their staff during the coming quarter.

The survey is conducted by an independent research firm and developed by Robert Half Technology, a leading provider of IT professionals on a project and full-time basis. Robert Half has been tracking IT hiring activity in the United States since 1995.

Key findings

· 92 percent of CIOs are confident in their companies’ growth prospects in the next three months, up five-points from last quarter.

· 88 percent of technology executives rated the confidence of their firms investing in IT projects in the fourth quarter a 3 or higher on a 5-point scale, with 5 being the most optimistic.

· IT security and networking professionals are in greatest demand right now, according to survey respondents.

· 66 percent of CIOs said it’s challenging to find skilled professionals today, up eighteen points from the previous quarter.

The vast majority of CIOs reported being at least somewhat confident in their companies’ prospects for growth in the fourth quarter of 2011; 39 percent rated the probability of investing in IT projects a 4 or higher on a 5-point scale, with 5 being the most optimistic.

Skills in demand

The functional areas in which executives say the greatest challenge in finding skilled IT professionals are security (18 percent) and networking (17 percent). Data/database management and help desk/technical support followed, each with 11 percent.

Network administration remains the skill set in greatest demand, cited by 63 percent of CIOs. Desktop management ranked second, with 50 percent of the response, followed by desktop support at 43 percent.

Regional outlook

CIOs in the Mid-Atlantic (NJ, NY, PA) area of the country plan the most IT hiring in the fourth quarter with a net 13 percent of executives anticipating adding IT staff.

Industries hiring

Executives in the transportation industry expect the most IT hiring in the fourth quarter. This was followed by the business services industry followed by manufacturing

Spending on Carrier Ethernet to Nearly Triple

U.S. enterprises and consumers are expected to spend more than $44 billion over the next five years on Ethernet services provided by carriers, according to a new market research study from The Insight Research Corporation. With metro-area and wide-area Ethernet services readily available from virtually all major data service providers, the market is expected to grow from $4.0 billion in 2011 to reach nearly $11.1 billion by 2016.

According to Insight Research’s market analysis study, Carriers and Ethernet Services: Public Ethernet in Metro & Wide Area Networks, 2011-2016, Ethernet’s central driver continues to be its ability to meet seemingly endlessly growing bandwidth demands at lower cost and with greater flexibility than competing services.

While the emergence of new high-bandwidth 40- and 100- Gigabit/s services is proceeding slowly, due largely to high current equipment prices, these will become increasingly important during the 2011-2016 forecast period.

Ethernet services are marketed under various names: transparent or native LAN, Ethernet, Gigabit Ethernet, GigE, metro Ethernet, Ethernet private line, Ethernet virtual private line, Layer 2 virtual private network, Ethernet access, and virtual private LAN service.

“Wireless backhaul is the fastest-growing sector within the Ethernet marketplace,” said Robert Rosenberg, president of Insight Research. “Ethernet can provide the necessary backhaul at lower unit costs and with greater flexibility than the older technology. The market continues to be paced by voracious bandwidth demands from its longstanding key verticals such as finance, schools, government and healthcare whose data transmission requirements continue to grow rapidly.”

Social Media Now a Source for IT Decision Making

UBM TechWeb, publishers of InformationWeek, released its annual Social Media at Work research Wednesday, which studies the social media consumption habits and preferences of almost 650 business technology decision makers.

An executive report of the findings, including how marketers can better utilize social media and networking to engage IT decision makers, can be downloaded on CreateYourNextCustomer.com, an online resource for technology marketing best practices, advice and research.

Study highlights include:

LinkedIn and Twitter are the best places for IT decision makers to talk shop:

69% are using LinkedIn for professional purposes and 44% are using Twitter for professional purposes.

IT decision makers are using social media to share information about technology vendors, products and services: 66% use social media to stay connected with colleagues and co-workers; 59% use social media to learn about new products, services and technologies; and 47% use social media to seek advice from peers about technology purchases.

Social media helps drive IT purchase decisions: 58% use social media to obtain information for a technology purchase.

“Social media is pervasive, and it would make sense for IT executives to increasingly use social platforms to share information and help them make purchase decisions,” said Scott Vaughan, UBM TechWeb’s CMO.

World’s PC Users Acquire Software Illegally

Nearly half of the world’s personal computer users — 47 percent — acquire software through illegal means most or all of the time. In developing economies the figures are much higher, according to the most extensive survey ever undertaken on PC users’ behaviors and attitudes toward software piracy and intellectual property rights.

The Business Software Alliance (BSA) today released detailed findings from the groundbreaking study on its official blog, BSA TechPost. Ipsos Public Affairs conducted the research for BSA by surveying approximately 15,000 PC users in 32 countries. This included 400 to 500 in-person or online interviews per country.

The study finds that large majorities of computer users in the developing world regularly acquire software through illegal means such as buying a single license for a program and then installing it on multiple machines, or downloading programs from peer-to-peer networks even though they express support for intellectual property principles.

China had a higher percentage of these regular software pirates among its PC-using population than any other country surveyed, followed by Nigeria, Vietnam, Ukraine, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, and Mexico.

The study finds that significant majorities of software pirates in developing markets incorrectly believe that typically illegal means of acquiring software are, in fact, legal. At the same time, they believe software piracy is common, and they think it is unlikely that software pirates will be caught.

Critically, business decision-makers around the world exhibit behaviors and opinions that are similar to those of other computer users.

“It took hundreds of millions of thieves to steal $59 billion worth of software last year. Now we have a better understanding of what they were thinking,” said BSA president and CEO Robert Holleyman. “The evidence is clear, the way to lower software piracy is by educating businesses and individuals about what is legal and ramping up enforcement of intellectual property laws to send clearer deterrent signals to the marketplace.”

Cost of Global Cybercrime: $114 Billion

For the first time a Norton (owned by Symantec) study calculates the cost of global cybercrime: $114 billion annually.

Include the value victims surveyed placed on time lost due to their cybercrime experiences, an additional $274 billion was lost.

With 431 million adult victims globally in the past year and at an annual price of $388 billion globally based on financial losses and time lost, cybercrime costs the world significantly more than the global black market in marijuana, cocaine and heroin combined ($288 billion).

According to the Norton Cybercrime Report 2011 more than two thirds of online adults (69 percent) have been a victim of cybercrime in their lifetime. Every second 14 adults become a victim of cybercrime, resulting in more than one million cybercrime victims every day. For the first time, the Norton cybercrime report reveals that 10 percent of adults online have experienced cybercrime on their mobile phone.

In fact, the Symantec Internet Security Threat Report, Volume 16 reported there were 42 percent more mobile vulnerabilities in 2010 compared to 2009 — a sign that cybercriminals are starting to focus their efforts on the mobile space. The number of reported new mobile operating system vulnerabilities increased, from 115 in 2009 to 163 in 2010.

In addition to threats on mobile devices, increased social networking and a lack of protection are likely to be some of the main culprits behind the growing number of cybercrime victims.

Businesses Increasingly Under Attack

SonicWALL, Inc., a provider ofintelligent network security anddata protection solutions, said in its mid-year cyber-threat intelligence bulletin that businesses are increasingly under attack by cyber-criminals who seek to exploit employees connecting to corporate networks via mobile devices and their rising use of social media.

Growth in Android-based malware and social media scams such as click-jacking on Facebook and malicious links sent over Twitter are creating new and heightened levels of business vulnerability from data intrusion, theft and loss.

Productivity and profitability are also compromised due to network and application downtime. Data for the bulletin was sourced from the SonicWALL Global Response Intelligent Defense (GRID) Network™, which gathers, analyzes and correlates billions of dynamic, real-time global cyber-threats.

“Cyber-criminals are focusing their attention on penetrating corporate networks and data through mobile workflow and applications,” said Boris Yanovsky, SonicWALL VP of Software Engineering. “Employees innocently surfing dating sites via a mobile device or PC, that are in fact fake sites, or clicking on offers on Facebook such as a free McDonald’s meal that are click-jacking scams, can have a catastrophic impact on data security, business continuity and profitability.”

Key findings of the mid-year cyber-threat intelligence bulletin include

Mobile-based threats have risen significantly over the last six months. While these threats are not as widespread as computer-based threats, cyber-criminals have found work-arounds to attack mobile phones on any platform.

Threats that infiltrate mobile devices via popular applications like Apple Safari and Adobe Reader can attack multiple operating systems. Also, the small screens of mobile devices typically truncate the view of long URLs, giving hackers an opportunity to lure unsuspecting users to a fake site masquerading as the site of a trusted institution.

Android Market malware is a growing issue. With the growth of the Android Market, there has been an increase in rogue applications affecting thousands of users. Google is actively removing malicious applications that appear in the market and has also removed multiple malicious apps remotely from users’ mobile devices. However, some threats remain.

Security threats resulting from the use of social media continue to rise. As social media has become part of the fabric of social and work-life, constant access to sites by employees from the corporate network is creating new levels of vulnerability.

Click-jacking scams lead to surveys that generate income for the hackers and rogue apps compromise confidential information. Twitter messages can contain shortened malicious links that can even activate just by hovering over them. Email attacks on popular sites emulate the “look and feel” of these sites to produce very credible-looking scams.

New and familiar viruses continue to infect computers and networks worldwide. Top malware threats in the first half of 2011 were fake anti-virus malware, including a new variant consisting of fake desktop utilities, SpyEye and Zeus Trojan spams.

“Poisoned” search results continue to deliver active malware, and every new variant is repackaged to evade antivirus detection. Malicious code and spam often masquerade as Facebook status updates, or email and security updates from Microsoft, while BredoLab and Oficla Trojan spams masquerade as tracking and invoice sites from shipping companies such as FedEx, UPS, DHL and USPS.

For a list of the top intrusions, malware as well as important gateway and anti-virus signatures that protected against these threats for the first half of 2011, click here.

Phishing fraud is more sophisticated and difficult to detect. Phishers have reduced errors and improved the quality and content of their emails, and they are now able to produce websites that look entirely legitimate, with multiple redirections masking the deception. Blended threats that combine techniques such as data theft and malware installation are also more prevalent.

SonicWALL continuously updates its list of institutions likely to be targets of spoofing attacks intended to harvest usernames, passwords and other sensitive customer information. An updated list of organizations that have been spoofed over the last six months is available here.

Most dangerous threats over the last six months include advanced persistent threats (APT) that come in through clicked links, lie hidden for an indefinite period of time and become active at a predefined time. Also highly dangerous are institutional database breaches that which expose a wealth of data for criminal use by correlating data from more than one source, providing the basis for sophisticated attacks such as spear phishing (targeted phishing) and threats to SCADA-based systems.

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