Computer users are more likely to engage in "riskier online behaviour" at work, such as downloading potentially malicious files or surfing suspicious websites, than at home, research published today has claimed.
According to an online survey of 1,200 corporate end users in the US, Germany and Japan, many users of corporate PCs are complacent about the risk of viruses, spyware, spam, phishing, and pharming because they rely on the IT department to provide security.
The study, conducted in July by IT security firm Trend Micro, warned that this cavalier attitude in the workplace often exacerbates problems for IT departments trying to protect business operations from increasingly unpredictable threats.
Some 39 per cent of enterprise end users believe that the IT department will prevent them from falling victim to threats including spyware and phishing, a perception which encourages "bolder" online behaviour in many users.
Among this group, 63 per cent acknowledged that they are more comfortable clicking on suspicious links or visiting suspicious websites because the IT department has installed security software on their computers.
Some 40 per cent of those who admitted to engaging in riskier online behaviour indicated that it was because the IT department was available to provide support if problems occurred.
In the US, 48 per cent of workers who admitted that they are more likely to open suspicious emails or web links on their work computers than at home said that it was because support was available if something bad happened. In Germany this figure fell to 39 per cent and in Japan 28 per cent.
"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.
"Eye-opening revelations like these highlight the security challenges IT departments face within their own organisations and should motivate them to ensure greater protection across their enterprise."
Some 40 per cent of German end users were inclined to contact the IT department regarding security issues, whether they were perceived or real.
In fact, 38 per cent of German enterprise end users had contacted their IT departments about security concerns within three months leading up to the survey.
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