Facebook Apps were the most significant threat log contributor, according to the latest edition of Application Usage and Threat Report by Palo Alto Networks.

Enterprises' most valued assets are exploited via commonly used business applications and seven business critical applications were found to be responsible for 86 percent of all exploit logs of the 1,244 applications studied.

The network security company Palo Alto Networks analysed network traffic of about 800 organisations across Asia Pacific between May and December 2012.

This comprehensive examination of application usage and threats indicates that social, video, and file sharing are not the top threat sources.

"The volume of exploits targeting business critical applications was stunning and serves as a data centre security wake-up call," said Matt Keil, senior research analyst at Palo Alto Networks and author of the report. "These threats will continue to afflict organisations until they isolate and protect their business applications by bringing threat prevention deeper into the network."

Threats and specific applications

Palo Alto Networks has identified custom or unknown applications as the leading type of traffic associated with malware communications.

Although these applications account for 71 percent of malware logs, they consume less than four percent of network bandwidth.

A total of 317 applications use SSL (Secure Sockets Layer), a commonly-used protocol in some way and this protocol is used as both a security mechanism and a masking agent.

About 300 social networking, video, and file sharing applications represent 27 percent of network bandwidth use. However, these applications account for only one percent of threat logs.

"Correlating threats with specific applications allows security teams to directly see and control risks in their networks," said René Bonvanie, chief marketing officer at Palo Alto Networks. "We are empowering our customers with the knowledge they need to implement comprehensive security policies and practices to better secure their networks with minimal impact on day-to-day operations."