Are remote workers more likely to visit adult sites?

Study reveals teleworkers propensity for adult content, online shopping, social networking websites

Are mobile workers a security threat? Managers who dislike telework may get a fresh arrow in their quiver from a new report showing that workers outside of the office are far more likely to try to visit blocked Web sites than those who toil away under the watchful eyes of managers.

The report from MessageLabs, a security firm that is now part of Symantec, shows that security alerts triggered by employee behavior are more likely when employees work outside of the office, but how big the difference is varies among different kinds of activities.

For example, roaming employees were 2.2. times more likely to try to access blocked streaming media than officebound workers. For downloading files, those outside were responsible for 5.4 times more blocked attempts than those in the office. The greatest discrepancy was 5.9 times, for online shopping.

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But officebound workers led the roaming ones in some categories including (perhaps surprisingly) trying to visit adult-content sites.

“[M]ore than 80 percent of websites blocked as malicious were found to be legitimate websites that had been compromised,” MessageLabs analysts wrote. “This shows the importance of safeguarding the Web-browsing activities of employees, even when visiting legitimate websites. The application of good acceptable usage policies is also important in preventing people from visiting websites that may be potentially harmful, offensive or illegal.”

For the full report and a breakdown of all the categories, click here.


About the Author

Technology journalist Michael Hardy is a former FCW editor.


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