Remote workers visiting dodgy sites twice as often as colleagues back in the office'

Office workers who think that their colleagues 'on the road' are visiting dodgy websites using company laptops may have had their suspicions confirmed by research from Web security firm, ScanSafe, the company claims

ScanSafe has found that remote laptop users are much more likely to visit sex sites, 'extreme' websites and other questionable content on the Web - putting themselves and their bosses at risk of legal liability, and exposure to infectious malware and malicious spyware.

The findings ̵1; taken from an analysis of eight billion Web requests processed by ScanSafe last month (March 2008) ̵1; confirms that remote workers:

  • Visit porn sites 2.5 times more often than employees back in the office.
  • Extreme websites (sites with extremely graphic content) 5.5 times more often.
  • Illegal activities sites (e.g., sites with information on building explosives) nearly four times more often.

Latest figures from the Office for National Statistics suggest that more than six million Britons work from home or other locations away from the office on a regular basis, says Spencer Parker, director of product management at ScanSafe. As a result, businesses up and down the country are now recognising that remote workforces are fast becoming one of the biggest loopholes in enterprise security policies.

"What is surprising is that there is such a huge increase in visits to what most firms would deem highly offensive sites, and in some cases, illegal content," Parker added.

"If employees are using a company laptop to download illegal music files from home, their bosses may be liable. Staff assume their Web habits away from the office are unsupervised; however, the problem is that no matter where they are working, they could be putting their company at risk."

Interestingly, the ScanSafe research indicates that remote workers are 66 per cent less likely to visit an online banking site. "A lot of people assume that Web security is much better in the office than at home or at WiFi hotspots," Parker said. "Also, people feel that being able to bank or shop online at work is much more acceptable nowadays as part of the overall work-life balance."

Further information:

Image: Remote workers visit porn sites 2.5 times more often than employees back in the office

What do you think about the issues raised in this news story? Share your views at the Information Professional discussion forum.

More IT industry news from the IET

Recent articles

Info Message

Our sites use cookies to support some functionality, and to collect anonymous user data.

Learn more about IET cookies and how to control them