Feeds

More remote workers squatting next door's broadband

Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's Wi-Fi

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

The number of workers in the UK who admitted they "hijack" the wireless connection of others has gone up from six per cent to 11 per cent over the last 12 months. Globally the figure is 12 per cent*, with big increases all over the world.

That's among the findings of the second annual survey of remote working commissioned by networking giant Cisco Systems, which paints a picture of general (and increasing) slackness about IT security threats. The poll of 2,000 remote workers and IT pros from ten countries, including the UK, found that many remote workers were happy to risk opening suspicious emails and attachments. Nearly half (48 per cent) admitted to opening dodgy emails in the UK, something of a black spot for the issue. The US scored better (by comparison, at least) with 27 per cent of those surveyed admitting that they exposed themselves to this risk.

Remote workers feel less urgency to be vigilant in their online behavior, with 56 per cent stating that the internet is becoming safer, an increase of eight percentage points from last year. This "happy factor", most pronounced in the world's fastest-growing economies such as Brazil, India and China, is having some undesirable consequences.

Punters half know that they are safer behind a corporate system, but that doesn't stop them from engaging in all manner of bad behaviour. As well as opening unsolicited emails and hijacking Wi-Fi connections, remote workers are in the habit of loaning out work computers to friends and family. Unsurprisingly they also use work computers for personal use, such as downloading music and visiting social networking sites. Worse still, from a security perspective, many are in the habit of accessing work files from personal devices that haven't been screened by IT departments.

Cisco reckons the reasons why punters flout corporate security policies when working from home are largely psychological.

"While working at home, people tend to let their guard down more than they do at the office, so adhering to security policies doesn't always intuitively seem applicable or as necessary in the private confines of one's home," Stewart said. "The blurring of the lines between work and home, and between business lives and personal lives, presents a growing challenge for businesses seeking to capitalise on the productivity benefits of the remote workforce."

More than half of respondents (55 per cent) to the survey reckon that remote workers are becoming less diligent about online security, an increase of 11 percentage points over the last 12 months. As well as the US and the UK the survey, conducted by market research firm InsightExpress, involved quizzing punters in France, Germany, Italy, Japan, China, India, Australia, and Brazil. The sample countries were chosen to represent a diverse set of social and business cultures.

The number of remote workers is growing worldwide, with as many as 46.6m staffers expected to be spending at least one day working at home by 2011, according to estimates from analyst firm Gartner.

Cisco is calling for greater security diligence so that firms and individuals can enjoy the benefits of remote working without exposing their organisations to security risks. Security awareness and education are at least as important as technology in these efforts, Cisco notes. ®

*The reasons offered for squatting a neighbour's wireless connection provide an insight into the thinking of remote workers. Answers offered in the survey included: "I needed it because I was in a bind", "It's more convenient than using my wireless connection", "I can't tell if I'm using my own or my neighbour's wireless connection" and "My neighbour doesn't know, so it's OK".

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
NSA SOURCE CODE LEAK: Information slurp tools to appear online
Now you can run your own intelligence agency
Azure TITSUP caused by INFINITE LOOP
Fat fingered geo-block kept Aussies in the dark
NASA launches new climate model at SC14
75 days of supercomputing later ...
Yahoo! blames! MONSTER! email! OUTAGE! on! CUT! CABLE! bungle!
Weekend woe for BT as telco struggles to restore service
Cloud unicorns are extinct so DiData cloud mess was YOUR fault
Applications need to be built to handle TITSUP incidents
BOFH: WHERE did this 'fax-enabled' printer UPGRADE come from?
Don't worry about that cable, it's part of the config
Stop the IoT revolution! We need to figure out packet sizes first
Researchers test 802.15.4 and find we know nuh-think! about large scale sensor network ops
SanDisk vows: We'll have a 16TB SSD WHOPPER by 2016
Flash WORM has a serious use for archived photos and videos
Astro-boffins start opening universe simulation data
Got a supercomputer? Want to simulate a universe? Here you go
prev story

Whitepapers

10 ways wire data helps conquer IT complexity
IT teams can automatically detect problems across the IT environment, spot data theft, select unique pieces of transaction payloads to send to a data source, and more.
Why CIOs should rethink endpoint data protection in the age of mobility
Assessing trends in data protection, specifically with respect to mobile devices, BYOD, and remote employees.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Business security measures using SSL
Examines the major types of threats to information security that businesses face today and the techniques for mitigating those threats.