Study: Workers Risk More on the Job

A study indicates enterprise users are a lot more likely to follow suspicious links and open strange e-mail on their work computers.

By Michael Hall | Posted Sep 14, 2005
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Results from a new study indicate that workers don't mind making the occasional security mess ... provided they make it on someone's computer besides their own, and as long as they know someone's around to clean it up.

Security firm Trend Micro has reported on its July study, which involved more than 1,200 corporate end users in the United States, Germany, and Japan. The most significant finding, the company noted, is "the correlation between the presence of an IT department and end-user confidence in the security they expect against viruses, worms, spyware, spam, phishing, and pharming. These expectations often result in riskier online behavior that exacerbates IT's challenge to protect business operations from increasingly unpredictable threats."

Figures Trend Micro provided to back up this assertion included a belief among 39 percent of enterprise users that their IT departments could protect them from spyware and phishing, prompting 63 percent of that population to admit that they're "more comfortable clicking on suspicious links or visiting suspicious Web sites because IT has installed security software on their computers."

"Although end users have expectations of IT to educate and protect them, they may not always help in overcoming network security challenges. In fact, they could make it more difficult," said Max Cheng, executive vice president and general manager of Trend Micro's enterprise business segment.

The study also found that in Germany (76 percent) and the United States (65 percent), users admitted to being more likely to open suspicious emails and links because IT departments had installed security software on their computers. About 42 percent of the Japanese users surveyed agreed.

Further, about a third of all the user surveyed admitted that they are more likely to open suspicious emails or click on suspicious links because the computer equipment is not theirs.

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