Cisco survey: Spyware, bots top security issues for government IT professionals

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Day-to-day worries about spyware and bots are the No. 1 security concern of IT professionals working for the agencies of the federal government, according to a study released today by Cisco Systems.

"Putting out fires" – dealing with spyware and bot-related issues, rather than working on high-level security architecture – is consuming more of the respondents' time than in the two previous annual surveys, Dave Graziano, manager of federal sales and security at Cisco, told SCMagazineUS.com.

“[Yet agencies are] not necessarily having the return on investment in that they feel more secure, with only 50 percent feeling more secure now than three years ago," he said.

The study, conducted by the e-Gov Institute, and reviewed by research firm Market Connections, also indicated that the 200 respondents from 30 federal agencies expressed growing concerns about security issues related to Web 2.0 technologies.

Social networking, file sharing, remote access and application compatibility are the agencies' greatest Web 2.0-related security concerns, according to the report.

“[Concerns about] wikis, blogs and mobility are all impacting the federal environment,” Gerald Charles, executive advisor of Cisco's public sector internet business solutions group, told SCMagazineUS.com.

Respondents also said budget woes are a barrier to security implementation, according to Aaron Heffron, vice president at Market Connections, told SCMagazineUS.com.

"More than 80 percent surveyed said that it's critical to have security capabilities built into the architecture of their agencies," he said. "One of the barriers seen in network security is budget. Many said the security architecture they have is inhibiting them from improving and getting network security to the point where they want it."

The report also revealed that 60 percent of respondents expect the internet protocol version 6 (IPv6) to improve their agencies' security architecture. One-third said their agencies are moving forward with an IPv6-supported security architecture.

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