Has your job ever restricted your work computer's access to specific websites? Perhaps your company blocks certain websites because they aren't conducive to productivity, or visiting those websites is inappropriate at work.
Well, Google restricted some of its employees from accessing the internet unless, of course, the site is owned by Google. The company says the pilot program is an experiment to measure how well restricting employees' internet access protects the company from cyberattacks.
CNBC reported that Google selected over 2,500 employees to participate in the experiment, but after some pushback, the company opened the experiment to volunteers and allowed employees to decline to participate.
Google will provide participants with desktops that cannot connect to the internet and can only access internal web tools, Google Search, Google Drive, and Gmail. These computers will also be devoid of administrative commands.
Disconnecting employees from the internet decreases the likelihood of hackers running malicious code. Google also plans to release more AI tools to use internally and externally, potentially increasing the likelihood of data breaches and privacy risks.
"Ensuring the safety of our products and users is one of our top priorities," Google said in an email. "We routinely explore ways to strengthen our internal systems against malicious attacks."
AI tools collect, store, and process large amounts of data, creating many vulnerabilities for companies and their users. Google is also seeking more government contracts, and significant data leaks could compromise national security.
Google has not experienced a significant data breach since 2018 when an API bug update exposed 52 million Google+ users' data. But foreign espionage hackers are getting more sophisticated, as Microsft recently announced that Chinese intelligence infiltrated email accounts belonging to US government agencies.