Feeds

UK workers abuse net access

Smut surfing - and worse - still rife

Using blade systems to cut costs and sharpen efficiencies

Staff misuse of internet access is still rife in the UK despite improvements over the last two years. Office workers frequently access inappropriate websites or goof about surfing the net instead of getting on with their work, according to findings from the 2006 Department of Trade and Industry's (DTI) biennial Information Security Breaches Survey.

The survey identified staff misuse of net resources as the second largest cause of reported security incidents after viruses for large UK companies.

A greater number of firms have an acceptable usage for internet access compared to the last DTI security survey two years ago. Two thirds (63 per cent) of all companies and 89 per cent of large firms have an acceptable usage policy, far more than have an overall information security policy.

Chris Potter, the PricewaterhouseCoopers partner leading the survey, said: "Where businesses have an acceptable usage policy in place, they are nearly three times as likely to detect misuse as those that don't. It is very hard to police this area if you haven't agreed what an acceptable usage policy is."

After the sharp rises in staff misuse levels two years ago, the number of companies affected has now stabilised, reflecting the improved levels of control. One in five companies overall was affected. Two-thirds of large businesses had at least one misuse incident in the last year.

However, many UK firms are failing to implement technology controls necessary to keep the issue in check. Three-fifths do not block access to inappropriate websites. Only one in six scans outgoing email for inappropriate content.

Around one in five (17 per cent) of the 1,000 UK businesses surveyed suffered staff misuse of web access and 11 per cent recorded misuse of email. Larger companies are more likely to have incidents of misuse - 52 per cent had web misuse and 43 per cent had email misuse. Several companies reported staff were accessing child pornography. The average cost of such incidents in financial terms was relatively low, but firms risk damaging their reputation if staff misuse of net resources becomes public knowledge. Only one in four firms use encrypted emails to secure confidential business communications.

Findings from the survey were published in a factsheet, E-mail and web usage, sponsored by security firm Clearswift. The full results of the survey will be published at the Infosecurity Europe exhibition and conference in London, which takes place between 25 and 27 April. ®

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

More from The Register

next story
BBC goes offline in MASSIVE COCKUP: Stephen Fry partly muzzled
Auntie tight-lipped as major outage rolls on
iPad? More like iFAD: We reveal why Apple fell into IBM's arms
But never fear fanbois, you're still lapping up iPhones, Macs
White? Male? You work in tech? Let us guess ... Twitter? We KNEW it!
Grim diversity numbers dumped alongside Facebook earnings
HP, Microsoft prove it again: Big Business doesn't create jobs
SMEs get lip service - what they need is dinner at the Club
Bose says today is F*** With Dre Day: Beats sued in patent battle
Music gear giant seeks some of that sweet, sweet Apple pie
Amazon Reveals One Weird Trick: A Loss On Almost $20bn In Sales
Investors really hate it: Share price plunge as growth SLOWS in key AWS division
Dude, you're getting a Dell – with BITCOIN: IT giant slurps cryptocash
1. Buy PC with Bitcoin. 2. Mine more coins. 3. Goto step 1
There's NOTHING on TV in Europe – American video DOMINATES
Even France's mega subsidies don't stop US content onslaught
You! Pirate! Stop pirating, or we shall admonish you politely. Repeatedly, if necessary
And we shall go about telling people you smell. No, not really
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
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.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.