Research by security as a service specialists ScanSafe has proven something that pretty much everyone knew already: namely that people working at home are more likely to view online pornography than those stuck in an office somewhere. I mean, it hardly needed a survey to dig up that little gem, but I guess at least now there are figures to back up the belief.
The survey results reveal remote users of company laptops are actually two and a half times more likely to visit porn sites. However, perhaps the really interesting statistics come when we, or rather those remote workers, look beyond the pornography and start straying into what ScanSafe refer to as 'extreme graphic content' sites. These are some five and a half times more likely to be visited outside of the confines of the office. Almost as popular away from the workplace are sites dealing with illegal activities such as making your own explosives, some four times as often as office bound workers. The serious side to the figures being that all of the above put both the employee and employer at risk of both legal liability and security breach through virus or malware infection.
The survey analysed no less than eight billion web requests, from which ScanSafe looked at requests for the categories mentioned such as porn and illegal activities, then broke those requests down into those from laptop users using the ScanSafe Anywhere+ service and those coming from regular users where employees were based in the office and using the normal ScanSafe service. The analysis highlighted exactly how habits change as soon as people think the boss, and perhaps other colleagues, are not looking. Habits such as not visiting online banking sites strangely enough. Remote workers are actually 66 percent less likely to visit these.
Of course, none of this should really come as a surprise. However, as Spencer Parker at ScanSafe says "What is surprising is that there is such a huge increase in visits to what most firms would deem highly offensive web sites, and in some cases, illegal content. If employees are using a company laptop to download illegal music files from home, their bosses may be liable. Staff assume their web habits away from the office are unsupervised, however, the problem is that no matter where they are working, they could be putting their company at risk."