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One-Third of IT Staff Are Hackers

About a third of IT staff have hacked an organization—sometimes the one they work for.

A report from Absolute Software shows a real “physician heal thyself” situation going on: A high percentage of IT personnel admitted to not following the same security protocols they are expected to enforce. Of those surveyed, 33% of respondents admitted to successfully hacking their own or another organization. The report also showed that 45% admitted to knowingly circumventing their own security policies.

“Given that IT is the security gatekeeper for an organization, it was alarming to see such high incidents of non-compliant behavior by IT personnel,” said Stephen Midgley, vice president, Global Marketing, Absolute. “Even if these actions are being performed to validate existing infrastructure, senior leadership should be aware that this activity is occurring. It may also be worthwhile to consider third-party audits to ensure adherence with corporate security policies.”

The report found that security remains at the top of the IT spending list, with 87% of respondents expecting increased investment in security this year. Despite prioritizing security and increasing budgets, IT managers believe that employees or insiders represent the greatest security risk to an organization (46%). This may be related to the fact that on average, 33% of all security protocols are not being followed by staff. It may also explain the high number of security breaches, with 38% of respondents experiencing a data breach within the past year.

IT decision makers also bear the brunt of responsibility. Of those surveyed, 78% believe IT managers are primarily responsible for the organization’s security. The report also showed that 65% of IT decision makers believe they would likely lose their job in the event of a security breach.

"Despite marked improvements, businesses are still very susceptible to attack,” added Midgley. “The gaps in current data breach response plans and in upholding general best practice policies must be addressed.”

The age of the IT respondents also impacted the results, with younger professionals demonstrating a more optimistic and confident outlook for IT security. But, they were also most likely to hack their own organization: 41% of IT professionals aged 18-44 would, vs. just 12% of IT professionals aged 45+.

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