UK office workers believe that their employers would not know if they transported sensitive information out of the workplace, new research has claimed.
The annual Websense opinion poll on attitudes about handling company information revealed that over half of the survey's 100 respondents believed their company would have no way of knowing whether they took or accidentally sent information.
Of more concern is the claim that one in 12 employees would happily share sensitive information with friends at rival companies.
Websense said that research from 2005 showed that each data loss incident can cost business up to $14m.
The company warned that it is not just about theft and disgruntled employees. Data loss can easily be an employee not thinking before acting, despite having innocent intentions.
Nearly half of respondents openly admitted to allowing friends and family to use their company laptop, which allowed one-click access to their company's sensitive information.
Nearly a third of respondents admitted trying to guess the administrator's password for their PC, while 21 per cent confessed to trying to access protected files.
Some 65 per cent sent potentially confidential information to insecure personal web mail accounts like Yahoo and Hotmail, and 52 per cent admitted to trying to hack into a colleague's email account.
Frank Coggrave, regional director for western Europe at Websense, said: "It is a real eye-opener to realise that so many UK employees are willing to put aside confidentiality agreements for friends.
"When you see that over half of the people surveyed had tried to hack into a colleague's email account, this should start alarm bells ringing for many companies."
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