Porn at Work is Common and Dangerous

Porn at work? But of course. Dubious downloads? Sure! How about visiting unapproved websites or kicking around on social media while logged onto the corporate network? You betcha!

Across the world, workers visit inappropriate websites while at work despite typically being fully aware of the risks to their companies, according to research from Vanson Bourne.

This risky behavior can leave both sensitive corporate and personal data open to being stolen and used immediately, stored for future use, or sold into a thriving black market where compromised corporate and personal identities are traded globally.

Pornography continues to be one of the most popular methods of hiding malware or malicious content. Even though awareness is high of the threat posed by adult content sites, the survey found that at 19%, China has the worst record for viewing adult content sites on a work device, with Mexico (10%) and the UK (9%) not far behind.

Although 65% of global respondents view using a new application without the IT department’s consent as a serious cybersecurity risk to the business, 26% admitted doing so. This varied regionally as well: In Singapore, 37% of respondents used new applications without IT’s permission, compared to 33% in the UK and 30% in India and Mexico. On the flip side, Australia and France were the lowest offenders at 14% and 16% respectively; however, any number puts businesses at risk.

Meanwhile, obvious behaviors such as opening emails from unverified senders still happen at work. Nearly one-third (29%) of Chinese employees open email attachments from unverified senders, even though nearly three out of four (72%) see it as a serious risk. US businesses view the threat even more seriously (80%) and open fewer unsolicited emails (17%).

Nearly two out of five employees (41%) use social media sites for personal reasons at work—a serious risk to businesses, as cyber-criminals hide malware on shortened links and exploit encrypted traffic to deliver payloads.

“While the majority of employees are aware of cybersecurity risks, in practice most still take chances,” said Dr. Hugh Thompson, CTO for Blue Coat, which sponsored the survey. “The consumerization of IT and social media carry mixed blessings to enterprises. It is no longer realistic to prevent employees from using them, so businesses need to find ways to support these technology choices while simultaneously mitigating the security risks.”

What’s Hot on Infosecurity Magazine?