Feeds

More remote workers squatting next door's broadband

Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's Wi-Fi

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

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
BOFH: WHERE did this 'fax-enabled' printer UPGRADE come from?
Don't worry about that cable, it's part of the config
Azure TITSUP caused by INFINITE LOOP
Fat fingered geo-block kept Aussies in the dark
You think the CLOUD's insecure? It's BETTER than UK.GOV's DATA CENTRES
We don't even know where some of them ARE – Maude
Want to STUFF Facebook with blatant ADVERTISING? Fine! But you must PAY
Pony up or push off, Zuck tells social marketeers
Yahoo! blames! MONSTER! email! OUTAGE! on! CUT! CABLE! bungle!
Weekend woe for BT as telco struggles to restore service
Oi, Europe! Tell US feds to GTFO of our servers, say Microsoft and pals
By writing a really angry letter about how it's harming our cloud business, ta
prev story

Whitepapers

Choosing cloud Backup services
Demystify how you can address your data protection needs in your small- to medium-sized business and select the best online backup service to meet your needs.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence
Download Choosing a Cloud Hosting Provider with Confidence to learn more about cloud computing - the new opportunities and new security challenges.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.