Surfing porn, downloading apps: Employees ignore obvious cyber risks at work

Blue Coat Systems, Inc., enterprise security solution provider, revealed the results of a global research study of 1580 respondents across 11 countries that highlighted a global trend of employees ignoring cyber risks while at work. Results from the survey found that universally, workers visit inappropriate websites while at work despite typically being fully aware of the risks to their companies.

Blue Coat’s research, conducted by independent research firm Vanson Bourne, found the actions of employees at odds with their awareness of the growing cyber threats facing the workplace. In addition, 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.

In India, technology is deemed as one of the top three forces that significantly help productivity within the workforce thereby enabling the ability to initiate more customer-focussed initiatives for an organisation. However, over half of total respondents from India (51%) recognize that technology initiatives leave an organisation exposed to security vulnerabilities whereas 26 percent feel that this is not the case. Phishing still leads as the preferred mode of being a malware carrier.

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, workers are still visiting these potentially dangerous sites. The Blue Coat survey found that at 19 percent, China has the worst record for viewing adult content sites on a work device, with Mexico (10 percent) and the UK (nine percent) not far behind. India stands 5th amongst respondents from 11 countries at seven percent for this behaviour.

Remarkably, an overwhelming 79 percent of respondents from India agree that they would encourage deploying new technologies that would help achieve business goals even if it would expose the organisation to higher risk. While 63 percent of Indian companies recognise that in addition to purchasing additional security products, it is also important to modify security policies as per need. Additionally, unique to the average global response of 37 percent, 69 percent of the respondents from India believe that it is beneficial to hire a security analyst.

Survey Highlights

The majority of global survey participants admitted understanding the obvious cyber threats when downloading email attachments from an unknown sender, or using social media and unapproved apps from corporate networks without permission, but knowing this, did not curb their risk-taking. Other findings include:

Although 65 percent of global respondents view using a new application without the IT department’s consent as a serious cyber-security risk to the business, 26 percent admitted doing so.

In India, 30 percent of respondents used new applications without IT’s permission, compared to 22 percent in China and Korea, and just 14 percent in Australia.

Obvious risks such as opening emails from unverified senders still happen at work. Nearly one out of three (28 percent) of Indian employees open email attachments from unverified senders, even though over four out of five (82 percent) see it as a serious risk, whereas Korean (63 percent) businesses view the threat less seriously yet open far less unsolicited emails, at 11 percent.

Over half of the Indian respondents (57 percent) 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 globally, six percent of respondents still admitted viewing adult content on work devices, China ranked the highest with nearly one in five (19 percent) employees admitting to viewing adult content at work, compared to India and Australia at seven percent and two percent respectively.

Source: First Post

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