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Online Xmas shopping puts business 'at risk'

Trojans, spam and viruses all in Santa's sack

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Almost a quarter of us are planning to do our Christmas shopping from our desks at work, according to a survey released yesterday. More 18-29 year-olds – 28 per per cent – will turn to their office net access to get their presents bought in time.

As the festive season approaches, the number of people sending electronic greetings cards will also rise rapidly. Again, a quarter of those surveyed said they planned to send Christmas greetings this way, and 13 per cent said they would open an e-card from an unknown sender.

The survey, conducted by YouGov on behalf of spam filtering outfit Clearswift, asked 2,000 people what their shopping plans were. It says the results show businesses will need to be on high alert for malicious code appearing on their networks. Workers logging on to the net with shopping in mind, it argues, might well be tempted to respond to spam email offers.

"We would always advise people against responding to spam or opening emails from unknown senders unless there is an appropriate level of email security in place to protect against viruses and other malicious attachments," comments David Guyatt, CEO of Clearswift. "Virus writers are becoming experts in social engineering and are likely to try and exploit our weakness for curiously opening e-cards from strangers."

Companies should make sure they have a clear email and internet use policy in place, and that staff are aware of the terms of the policy, and of the threat posed by viruses and worms. Etcetera, etcetera. ®

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