Feeds

Britain: a nation of cyber snoopers

Sneaky buggers

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Using blade systems to cut costs and sharpen efficiencies

Britain is fast becoming a nation of cyber snoopers, according to a study out today.

The NOP survey, commissioned by Internet security firm Symantec, reveals that many of us would, given the opportunity, read messages or files on other people's computers and mobile phones.

Men are the worst culprits, with just over a quarter admitting they would look at colleagues' salaries on their boss's computer if they had the opportunity. Only 13 per cent of women would spy on colleagues' pay.

A quarter of men would check out corporate plans and financial information but only 10 per cent of women quizzed in the survey were willing to take this risk.

The figures are lower when it comes to reading personal information. Fourteen per cent of men and just ten per cent of women admitting they would spy on their bosses' personal data, such as email or electronic diary planners.

Moral-free zone

When it comes to snooping on partners at home, it's a different story. Women - instead of men - are the worst culprits.

Nearly half (40 per cent) of all women interviewed said they would check their partner's mails, while a staggering 60 per cent were prepared to look at suspicious text messages if they thought they were being cheated on.

Men, it seems, are less inclined to snoop on their spouses, with just a quarter admitting that they would check emails and around a third text messages to catch out straying partners. However more than one in three (35 per cent) admitted that they would read a document on a partner or friend's computer if they thought they wouldn't get caught.

The survey comes from telephone interviews with 257 nationally representative British adults aged between 21 to 35 conducted in June 2002.

Top Tips

Symantec has devised some top tips for protecting confidential and personal information:

  1. Password-protect confidential documents and emails, whether saved on your computer at work or at home.
  2. PIN-protect your mobile phone to prevent anyone checking your text messages or address book.
  3. Keep passwords secret (don't write them on Post-it notes and stick them to your screen!) and change them regularly. If you have trouble remembering all of your different passwords, try using a password management product.
  4. Avoid passwords that can be guessed easily, like your partner or pet's name. Try and use memorable combinations of letters and numbers.
  5. Use a screen-saver on your PC and password-protect it. To do this, if you run Windows, use the Control Panel, click on Display and then the Screen Saver tab and Password Protect.
  6. When you go to lunch or into a meeting, 'lock down' your computer.
  7. Remember to protect yourself from potential hackers viewing your Internet activity by installing a firewall.

®

Related Stories

Privacy in the workplace is a 'myth'
UK workers succumb to email paranoia
UK Govt publishes revised 'snoopers charter'
Bosses should stop snooping on staff email - MP
PDA security slackers, the lot of you

Boost IT visibility and business value

More from The Register

next story
Secure microkernel that uses maths to be 'bug free' goes open source
Hacker-repelling, drone-protecting code will soon be yours to tweak as you see fit
How long is too long to wait for a security fix?
Synology finally patches OpenSSL bugs in Trevor's NAS
Israel's Iron Dome missile tech stolen by Chinese hackers
Corporate raiders Comment Crew fingered for attacks
Roll out the welcome mat to hackers and crackers
Security chap pens guide to bug bounty programs that won't fail like Yahoo!'s
HIDDEN packet sniffer spy tech in MILLIONS of iPhones, iPads – expert
Don't panic though – Apple's backdoor is not wide open to all, guru tells us
Researcher sat on critical IE bugs for THREE YEARS
VUPEN waited for Pwn2Own cash while IE's sandbox leaked
Four fake Google haxbots hit YOUR WEBSITE every day
Goog the perfect ruse to slip into SEO orfice
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable
Learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.