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Nearly one in ten UK workers watch porn at work despite knowing it's risky

4 min read

19 May 2015

New research from cyber security company Blue Coat has employed attitudes towards protecting personal information, and shed light on staff members particular viewing habits online.

It found that UK workers are more careless when it comes to cyber security than their global counterparts. Some 1580 respondents across 11 countries took part in the survey.

One third of UK employees downloaded apps without getting approval of their IT team – though 66 per cent admitted they knew it was wrong. The study also revealed that 20 per cent of UK employees opened email attachments from people they didn’t know despite 78 per cent of respondents knowing it posed a risk to the business.

It seems a common theme from the research. Half of British workers used personal devices though 37 per cent said they knew it posed a serious security risk. Some 38 per cent understood that using personal social media at work could be hazardous, but 44 per cent did it nonetheless.

Robert Arandjelovic, director of products for Blue Coat, EMEA, said: “The dichotomy between the awareness and actions of the employees found in this research should trouble businesses all over the world.”

Most surprisingly, 81 per cent of UK workers said they felt watching porn at work was a business risk, and yet nearly ten per cent have done so anyway. Globally, this figure stood at six per cent, and dropped lower for France and Germany – five per cent and two per cent of workers respectively.

An earlier study from Anglia Ruskin University found that those who have sex two or three times a week can earn 4.5 per cent more than those who are less sexually active. So, employees are probably best keeping the adult content away from the office – and focusing less on the virtual kind.

Read more on cyber security:

Pornography is one of the most popular methods of hiding malware – in a report from last year, Blue Coat found that it was the second biggest threat of online content leading to malware. It was second to malicious advertising. Looking at this new research, it seems China has the most to worry about on this front – it had the worst record for viewing adult content sites on a work device at 19 per cent, followed by Mexico at ten per cent and then the UK.

Blue Coat said that SSL (encrypted) traffic naturally bypasses many security controls enabling cybercriminals to hide malware within it. Of the top ten most visited websites in the world, eight – including Google and Facebook – use SSL encryption. Around 500,000 websites are thought to have been affected by Heartbleed, a bug existing in a piece of open source software called OpenSourceSSL.

“The consumerisation of IT and social media carry mixed blessings to enterprises. It is no longer feasible to prevent employees from using them, so businesses need to find ways to support these technology choices while mitigating the security risks,” added Arandjelovic.

The cyber security company advocate developing a safe usage policy as a way to address these concerns. It also warned against totally cracking down on internal usage of the internet – 83 per cent of employees agreed that flexible IT, including bringing in their own devices were beneficial.