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UK workers are delicate flowers, to be sure. According to a survey by antivirus outfit Sophos, more than half of 1,000 shocked employees polled reckon their bosses must take responsibility in ensuring that "violent, pornographic and other offensive content" does not reach their inboxes.

This spam tsunami not only unsettles the nervous, but also "wastes valuable time and network resources, resulting in a significant loss of revenue for businesses". Sophos estimates that 50 per cent of all email is spam, and this figure is set to rise.

Sophos is suitably outraged by the findings. According to security consultant Carole Theriault: "It is irresponsible for employers not to protect their staff from unsolicited emails containing offensive, pornographic and racist content - it's practically asking for a Human Resources fiasco. More than half of those polled agreed that employers need to take action, but whether the majority of employers are actually doing anything about spam is another matter."

And it gets worse. She adds: "Sophos research shows that only about a quarter of all SMBs have anti-spam software in place."

So, the solution is to install adequate anti-spam software, such as that sold by antivirus and anti-spam firm Sophos. "So long as there is money to be made from sending unsolicited email, spammers will continue to flog their services and wares - whether content is unsavoury or not. By blocking spam at the email gateway, businesses can not only save time and money, they can also stop offensive communications upsetting their employees," concludes Theriault.

As an alternative to flashing the chequebook, bosses might prefer to take on board recent figures from email filtering operation MessageLabs - which show that the amount of "inappropriate content" in emails is on the decline - and simply tell their whimpering employees to stop moaning and get back to work. ®

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Internet Security Threat Report 2014

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