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Home workers' online mischief puts employers at risk

Remote workers are hijacking neighbours' Wi-Fi, opening unsafe emails and lending work PCs to non-employees, says a Cisco-sponsored survey
Written by Nick Heath, Contributor

Companies are being exposed to risks by home workers' bad behaviour online, such as hijacking the neighbour's Wi-Fi and opening unsafe emails.

A Cisco-sponsored survey of more than 2,000 remote workers and IT managers worldwide uncovered a lack of discipline and vigilance among home workers on the internet.

In the UK there is a growing trend for home workers to open unknown or suspicious looking emails, with 48 percent of respondents admitting to doing so. Eleven percent of those who took part in the survey confessed to hijacking their neighbour's Wi-Fi, and 22 percent admitted lending work computers to non-employees.

According to the survey, over half of managers believe their remote workers are becoming less diligent when it comes to security awareness, with the survey recording a four percent increase in people accessing work files with personal unprotected devices, and a three percent rise in people using work computers for personal reasons.

Cisco's chief security officer, John Stewart, said in a statement: "While working at home, people tend to let their guard down more than they do at the office."

Stewart said there was a need for companies to educate their employees about essential security practices and policies, and said managing corporate security is partly technology, partly process and partly awareness, education and communication.

"It's often more of a human challenge than a technical one," Stewart added.

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