Are remote workers more likely to visit adult sites?

Study reveals teleworkers propensity for adult content, online shopping, social networking websites

Are mobile workers a security threat? Managers who dislike telework may get a fresh arrow in their quiver from a new report showing that workers outside of the office are far more likely to try to visit blocked Web sites than those who toil away under the watchful eyes of managers.

The report from MessageLabs, a security firm that is now part of Symantec, shows that security alerts triggered by employee behavior are more likely when employees work outside of the office, but how big the difference is varies among different kinds of activities.

For example, roaming employees were 2.2. times more likely to try to access blocked streaming media than officebound workers. For downloading files, those outside were responsible for 5.4 times more blocked attempts than those in the office. The greatest discrepancy was 5.9 times, for online shopping.

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But officebound workers led the roaming ones in some categories including (perhaps surprisingly) trying to visit adult-content sites.

“[M]ore than 80 percent of websites blocked as malicious were found to be legitimate websites that had been compromised,” MessageLabs analysts wrote. “This shows the importance of safeguarding the Web-browsing activities of employees, even when visiting legitimate websites. The application of good acceptable usage policies is also important in preventing people from visiting websites that may be potentially harmful, offensive or illegal.”

For the full report and a breakdown of all the categories, click here.


About the Author

Technology journalist Michael Hardy is a former FCW editor.

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Reader Comments

Thu, Sep 23, 2010

If they are teleworking from home, their personal PC is most likely sitting right next to their company PC. (How many people tech-savvy enought to telework DON'T have a personal PC?) Stupid should be painful- anybody dumb enough to go to truly improper sites on the company PC should suffer the consequences. If there are sites they need to go to for their work that are blocked by the local net-nanny system, they need to lean on their supervisor and IA shop to get them unblocked, unless the sites were black-listed because they were compromised.

Thu, Sep 23, 2010

As far as how often teleworkers do porn, how do they know? After all, most folks have ways to get on the net other than through the government servers that can track them. They could have two ports open, one to look like they are working and the other to get their jollies/do a second job/play warcraft/shop/day trade. I know when I am on the road I have had work mail open and my personal mail open (try that at work) and how would they know that since we are using the hotel's server to go to the different mail servers?

I do not know how many "adult" sites I "try" to go to during a month. Some day I need to keep count. Of course, how many of the so called "adult" sites are really porn sites and not a mis-adjusted filter? Searching for technical documents I sometimes get a screen saying 'you tried to access porn, you are logged', yet when I go home and get it, it is the work related document I need. My BANK was called a porn site for a while, then it was labeled gambling, they finally changed it at my management's request so I could check to see if the travel system routed funds correctly without telling management to wait until I went home.

Thu, Sep 23, 2010

The report doesn't site teleworkers. It also shows that there were more blocks to adult sites in the office than to "roamers".

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