Application whitelisting company Bit9 is saying something IT admins already know: corporate and government PC users need to do a better job of protecting their computers from malware.

Bit9 surveyed 1,282 IT professionals and found that many enterprise and government desktops are littered with unauthorized software ranging from P2P software, to toolbars, Trojans, spyware, and ransomware, among other digital cruft.

"The results from our survey once again underscore the need for companies to adopt a more proactive approach to endpoint security to prevent unauthorized software from being downloaded and running in their organizations," said Tom Murphy, Chief Strategy Officer, Bit9. "Rather than scrambling to react to the latest malicious piece of software – costing time and money – IT administrators need to ensure that only approved software will run in their enterprise. This is a business critical need confirmed by the large amount of respondents that are dealing with malware across their networks."

A solution may not be so easy to come by. Even though 68 percent of IT staff surveyed said they have software restrictions in place, 45 percent said they still found unauthorized software running on more than half of their computers.

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