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  1. Leadership
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May 19, 2015

Workers put business at risk online despite knowing dangers

Britons more of a menace to bosses than the French or the Germans.

By

Workers are taking risks online that endanger their employers in full knowledge that they are putting the business at risk, according to a survey by the security vendor Blue Coat.

British staff were shown to be more risky than their French and German counterparts, with one in ten Britons surveyed admitting to looking at adult material at work, and one in five opening email attachments from unknown senders.

Hackers often use pornography and email attachments to spread malware, with the former used in part because people may be embarrassed to admit viewing it if their computer becomes infected, and the latter used because people are likely to open emails ostensibly relevant to their work.

Robert Arandjelovic, director of products for Blue Coat EMEA, said: "The dichotomy between the awareness and actions of the employees found in this research should trouble businesses all over the world.

"While IT professionals seek to prevent cyberattacks occurring, their colleagues’ behaviour is jeopardising employers’ cybersecurity and ultimately their jobs."

The report also found that workers were taking risks over "shadow IT", a consumer-driven trend in which business departments and individuals download apps and use services without the consent or knowledge of the IT department.

Though two-thirds of those surveyed worldwide said that they saw shadow IT apps as a risk to the business, a third of Britons admitted to having used such software without the permission of the IT department.

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Two out of every five workers globally also said they used social media for personal reasons whilst at work, which can also be exploited by hackers to deliver malware through shortened URL links or abuse of encrypted web connections.

"The consumerisation of IT and social media carry mixed blessings to enterprises," Arandjelovic said.

"It is no longer feasible to prevent employees from using them, so businesses need to find ways to support these technology choices while simultaneously mitigating the security risks."

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