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Male workers are twice as likely as their female colleagues to swap music files at work on a daily basis, according to a new survey by censorware firm Surfcontrol. The firm argues that because illicit music and video files are increasingly used to spread spyware and computer viruses that blokes are more often the cause of workplace spyware infestations than women.

"In some instances differences between men and women's PC usage patterns seem very small but in other cases there is a significant distinction," said Steve Purdham, chief exec at Surfcontrol. "They are three times more likely to download free software everyday in the office and this could well be exposing their employers to malicious threats unless measures are taken to better manage user abuse more effectively."

The poll of 300 men and women found that blokes also made greater use of IM, web-based email, playing online games, recreational surfing, storing personal files on the network and using removable media such as; DVD, CD-ROM, USB flash drives. Surfcontrol reckons these are all potential conduits for spyware infection that ought to be controlled, preferably using its software.

Alternatively, people could stop using computers.

Surfcontrol has come up with an extensive list of supposed spyware threats; but of these, only swapping music files, installing shady applications and surfing using unpatched browsers, particularly when visiting dodgy sites, are significant spyware risks. ®

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