SOURCE: Websense, Inc.

March 13, 2008 17:47 ET

NCAA March Madness Could Strain Employee Productivity, Squeeze Bandwidth and Increase Risk of Confidential Data Loss

Websense Finds Increase in Number of Sports and Gambling Web Sites; Trends Show Web and Email Security Threats Rise During Popular Sporting Events

SAN DIEGO, CA--(Marketwire - March 13, 2008) - Websense, Inc. (NASDAQ: WBSN) today reported that with "March Madness" upon us, many companies can expect to see a decrease in employee productivity as basketball fans use the Web while on the clock to keep up with the latest tournament news, manage their brackets and engage in sports gambling. In addition to being a productivity and network bandwidth drain, popular sporting events like the NCAA Tournament tend to attract increased interest from the hacker community, which has driven an increase in compromised sports-related Web sites, targeted phishing attacks and even creating fake malicious Web sites to infect visitors for financial gain.

This year hoops fans will be able to visit more news and gambling Web sites than ever. Through its proprietary discovery and categorization engines, Websense has classified a 19 percent increase in the number of sports-related Web sites and a 32 percent increase in the number of gambling-related Web sites compared to last year. Additionally, for those fans who want to view games in their entirety online, Web sites like www.ncaasports.com will offer all 63 games in streaming video for free, consuming valuable network bandwidth and slowing network performance, creating a headache for network administrators.

Websense Internet researchers today reported a:

-- 19 percent growth in sport-related Web sites -- Since March of 2007, sports-related Web sites have grown 19 percent, increasing from 587,000 to more than 700,000 today, many of which provide real-time game scores, updated player statistics, and minute-by-minute coverage and analysis.

-- 32 percent growth in gambling Web sites -- Since March of 2007, gambling-related Web sites have grown 56 percent, increasing from 108,000 to more than 143,000 today, offering hackers another avenue for malicious threats during high profile sporting events.

-- Continuing trend among hackers to target major sporting events -- With the number of compromised legitimate Web sites -- for the first time -- outnumbering malicious sites created by hackers, sports and gambling Web sites are prime targets during the high-profile and high-traffic tournaments. For example, in February 2007, Websense discovered that the official Web site of the Dolphin Stadium, host to the Super Bowl at the time, was compromised with malicious code intended to steal private information.

Websense software helps organizations of all sizes protect their employees and their essential information. It also provides organizations with the ease and flexibility of applying policies for employee Internet use, while protecting bandwidth and protecting against potential information security threats.

"When high-profile events occur like March Madness, hackers rush to try to profit through social engineering tactics and increasingly by compromising legitimate Web sites," said Steve Kelley, senior director, product management, Websense. "The sheer number of sports and gambling Web sites, coupled with the widespread use of Web 2.0 sites such as social networking sites, present an opportunity for the bad guys to go after unsuspecting computer users. We encourage organizations to establish Internet security policies to protect employees and organizations essential information."

Tips for Organizations

During the madness of the NCAA Tournament, Websense experts recommend that organizations:

-- Establish Internet access policies to serve as guidelines for Internet use. Sample policies can be viewed at http://www.websense.com/global/en/ResourceCenter/InternetPolicies/.

-- Estimate how much casual Internet surfing could be costing the organization by running the Web Filtering Cost Savings Calculator, available at http://www.websense.com/global/en/ResourceCenter/CostSavingsCalc/.

-- Use flexible Web filtering software to manage Internet access and block access to Web sites with malicious code and threats. Download a free 30-day trial at www.websense.com.

About Websense, Inc.

Websense, Inc. (NASDAQ: WBSN), a global leader in integrated Web, messaging and data protection technologies, provides Essential Information Protection™ for more than 42 million employees at more than 50,000 organizations worldwide. Distributed through its global network of channel partners, Websense software and hosted security solutions help organizations block malicious code, prevent the loss of confidential information and enforce Internet use and security policies. For more information, visit www.websense.com.

Websense and Websense Enterprise are registered trademarks of Websense, Inc. in the United States and certain international markets. Websense has numerous other unregistered trademarks in the United States and internationally. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.

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