Remote working encourages bad browsing habits, experts claim

IT vendor Symantec has expressed concerns over the way in which people working from home or whilst out and about are more likely to diverge from company policy on security and website access regulations.

In a survey published by Symantec it was found that 35 per cent of an average workforce would be more comfortable attempting to access a restricted website while out of the office than in it. This is based on statistic gleaned from real usage of Symantec’s hosting service.

Symantec’s Paul Wood said that those who work in an office for the majority of the time but then occasionally are required to work remotely are the group most likely to cause security problems due to contravention of browsing rules.

Mr Wood explained that by being taken out of the office environment some workers automatically turn to their leisure time browsing habits and put on hold the surfing security regulations which are enforced by many businesses.

Mr Wood identifies online gambling, social networking and mature adult sites as three of the most common misuses of browsing while worker are operating on a remote basis. He said that this results in a loss of productivity and leaves firms open to security breaches and infection from malware.

By allowing unchecked access to inappropriate sites whilst employees are working from home it is believed that the threat from data loss, malware attack or hacking are greatly increase because over a fifth of the malware intercepted this month has been entirely new, which is up by almost nine per cent on figures for August.

The sudden spike in malware activity and the prevalence of successful malware campaigns which exploit simple social engineering tricks is putting businesses in a compromising position, particularly when employees are allowed remote access to systems while browsing unsupervised.

Symantec notes that although there was an increase in new malware this month, in real terms the number of emails sent out with phishing links onboard actually fell by 13 per cent.

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