Hackers are gaining access to corporate networks by exploiting lax security on over 350,000 home workers' PCs connected to their work IT systems, a recent survey has claimed.
According to the study from assurance company NCC Group, one in six PCs tested at testmysecurity.com were completely without protection.
With over two million UK employees using their home PC to access work networks, it is possible that 350,000 employee PCs are acting as back doors for hackers to attack business networks.
"This figure is alarming and one which businesses need to tackle as soon as possible," said Paul Vlissidis, head of risk at NCC Group.
"It doesn't matter how much money businesses invest in securing their corporate network if employees are accessing the network from home with insecure systems.
"It's like securing the front of your house with the latest alarm but leaving your back door open."
NCC pointed out that home PCs or laptops are not automatically covered by the same corporate security as office-based PCs, and businesses need to advise employees on security procedures and practices when working at home.
Shakeel Rashid, chief technology officer at internet security company Preventon Technologies, said: "These statistics have confirmed what we have always asserted: that a staggering number of home internet users are still at risk from attack.
"Not only are they giving hackers open access to business information, but they're giving them access to personal information such as bank details, National Insurance or passport numbers."
Vlissidis added: "With the increase in 'always-on' broadband connections people need to ensure that they access the corporate network only when required and shut down properly after use.
"It is vital that businesses carry out a regular and thorough risk assessment to address the security threats posed by home workers."
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