Gartner: FUD for thought

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Progress in business is suffering because security companies over-hype threats concerned with new technology, Gartner claims.

The analyst firm listed its top five over-hyped security threats at its IT security summit this week.

Unsafe Internet Protocol (IP) telephony, dangerous mobile malware, "Warhol worms", regulatory compliance and unsafe wireless hot spots were named by the company as the security threats that caused users most problems, because vendors exaggerate the dangers.

In most cases, Gartner argued that the benefits of adopting new technologies, such as IP telephony, far outweighed the actual dangers.

"Enterprises that diligently use security best practices to protect their IP telephony servers should not let these threats derail their plans," said Lawrence Orans, principal analyst at Gartner. "For these enterprises, the benefits of IP telephony far outweigh any security risks."

John Pescatore, vice president at Gartner reserved particular scorn for antivirus vendors promoting mobile phone antivirus.

"Anti-virus vendors see huge potential profit opportunities in selling security solutions to billions of cellphone and PDA users," said Pescatore. "In particular, the anti-viral industry sees cellphones as the way to grow sales outside of a flat, commoditized PC market. However, device-side anti-viruses for cell phones will be completely ineffective. The most effective approach to blocking mobile malware will be to block it in the network."

In May SC reported Commwarrior, the first mobile phone virus that spreads via MMS messages, had reached six different countries, including Finland, Italy and Oman.

www.gartner.com

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