ACN cybersec survey exposes alarming user practices

Regional orgs left vulnerable by employees’ digital naivety

Tags: Cyber crimeITP Publishing GroupUnited Arab Emirates
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ACN cybersec survey exposes alarming user practices Six per cent of users said they had shared their password with someone else.
By  Stephen McBride Published  May 13, 2014

An alarming number of GCC users participate in non-work activities on their devices while at the office, contributing to the overall vulnerability of corporate networks to cyber attack, according to the Arabian Computer News IT Security Behaviour Survey 2014.

The survey, conducted through ITP.net between April and May this year, sought to paint a clear picture of regional employees' activities with regard to cyber security best practices.

The most common practices are checking personal email (66%); browsing websites not directly related to work (59%); conducting online payments and financial transactions related to personal affairs (56%); and visiting social network sites such as Facebook (46%).

Twenty-nine per cent said they watched streaming video or listened to streaming music and 27% admitted to having made a non-business online purchase. Others even downloaded music or video (11%) and others (11%) said they had participated in online gaming while at the office.

"The survey results portray that users at large do use IT assets at work for personal use, mainly accessing personal emails, accessing personal online banking or browsing websites not related to work," said Ravi Patil, technical director, Mediterranean, Middle East and Africa, Trend Micro. "This poses a huge security challenge to companies as it opens up an infection channel for the malware writers to penetrate the company network."

Nicolai Solling, director of technology services at Help AG, said the highlighted behaviours could be prevented if organisations invested in software solutions to help control bad habits.

"It is interesting to see that despite the number of monitoring and access control tools available in the market, we still see so many employees engaging in these activities," he lamented.  "It is clearly an indication of the lack of control companies have over their employees' usage of the Internet. Here I am not speaking primarily from a productivity perspective, but some of the behavior that is described can cause serious risks to an organisation, which again can cause financial losses."

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