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Can’t use your Web browser? Sophos may be to blame

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Sophos has announced that the application control feature of its flagship
product, Sophos Endpoint Security and Control, has been extended to give
businesses the option to block unauthorised web browsers from company
networks.

This feature addition coincides with recent research from Sophos showing
that 70% of administrators want the ability to block unauthorised web
browsers or out-of-date versions of approved browsers.
Browsers which can be blocked by Sophos include Firefox (versions 1-3),
Internet Explorer (versions 5-7), Safari, Opera, Netscape and Flock, as well
as lesser known internet browsers.
"The 30% of administrators who don't consider browser control to be
important might want to revisit this issue. Employees installing their own
browsers and associated tools, like iTunes and BitTorrent, are probably not
thinking about security but about personal preferences, while administrators
are forced to deal with the associated security and productivity issues.
Setting down a policy that controls which web browser and version type
employees can use, administrators are simplifying the job of keeping the web
secure, particularly important in light of the increased malware activity on
the web," says Brett Myroff, CEO of regional Sophos distributor, Sophos
South Africa.
SophosLabs now identifies one newly infected webpage every five seconds,
confirming the web as the primary vector for malware infection.  Out-of-date
or unpatched browsers, being particularly vulnerable, are driving
administrators to demand tighter control over which web browser and version
number can be installed on an employee's computer.
"As hackers increasingly turn to compromising legitimate websites by
inserting malicious code that redirects browsers to sites hosting malware –
a well-managed web browser, where vulnerabilities are patched and options
are appropriately set, help to preserve the integrity of corporate
networks," Myroff says.
Phishers, too, have turned to taking advantage of vulnerabilities and
security weaknesses in web browsers to trick users with authentic looking,
criminally-motivated replicas – designed to collect sensitive personal and
company information which can then be used for financial gain.
Aside from the risks posed by cybercriminals, 'browser wars' have opened up
a competitive, fast paced and varied landscape.  Beta versions and updates
of popular browsers are entering circulation daily, some incorporating media
streaming and file sharing capabilities, making it increasingly difficult
for administrators to secure endpoints.
Sophos's application control is fully integrated into Sophos Endpoint
Security and Control, requiring no further rollout of new software.  It
gives companies the power to selectively block web browsers, remote
connection tools, games, VoIP, peer-to-peer (P2P), Instant Messaging (IM)
and distributed computing applications. It is available free-of-charge to
all customers.