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Study highlights threat of mobile workers

Study highlights threat of mobile workers

Increased mobility could also lead to many increased risks.
According to the latest behavioral study conducted by network anti-virus and Internet content security software provider Trend Micro Inc., the more mobile end users are, the more likely they are to send confidential information via Instant Messaging or Web mail.
Both desktop and mobile, corporate end users in Japan are more likely than users elsewhere to send confidential information to colleagues or business partners through instant messages or Web mail, the study found.
In the U.S., 58 percent of respondents who have access to the Internet outside the company network via company laptops admitted to sending confidential information by Web mail. This is comparable to admissions of 42 percent of those who always connect to the Internet via the company network.
According to respondents from Germany, UK and the U.S., mobile users are also more likely than desktop users to engage in risky online behavior such as visiting social networking sites and downloading movies while on the company network.
Of German respondents, for example, 54 percent of mobile end users downloaded executable files while they were on their company's network, compared to 41 percent of desktop users.
Japan was the only country surveyed which contrasted with this general response.
In Japan, only 49 percent of mobile end users downloaded executable files while on the company network, compared to 60 percent of desktop workers.
The study tracked responses from 1,600 corporate computer end users across U.S., UK, Germany and Japan. Interestingly, in all countries surveyed, except Japan, the more mobile an end user is, the more likely they are to receive spam and phishing attacks.
In U.S., 77 percent of mobile workers reported receiving spam at work in the last three months compared to 68 percent of those who use a desktop computer.
Additionally, 40 percent of mobile workers in the U.S. reported receiving phishing attacks at work in the past three months compared to 31 percent of desktop computer users.
Of mobile workers in the UK, 76 percent reported receiving spam at work in the past three months compared to 63 percent of desktop computer users. Eighty percent of German mobile workers reported receiving spam at work in the past three months compared to 70 percent of desktop computer users.
Indications also suggest that mobile users are often more technically savvy and better educated regarding esoteric security threats such as pharming and phishing.
In the U.S., for example 61 percent of mobile end users are aware of Web threats compared to 49 percent of desktop computer users. Such trends in risky behavior are concerning, because Web threats are more pervasive today and are the fastest-growing threat vector. They are more sophisticated, comprise multiple components, and leverage the Web to update, hide, communicate and transmit stolen information. With hackers becoming more organized and increasingly motivated by profit, criminal opportunity is greater than ever. "Risky behavior by mobile workers is increasing the challenge for IT administrators and security specialists," said Raimund Genes, Trend Micro CTO for anti-malware.
"Mobile workers may often be unaware of the risk they pose to the corporate network and that their behavior is increasing the risk to corporate security. Of particular concern to our customers is the admission by users to having sent confidential information over tools such as Instant Messenger. The pervasive use of the Web combined with the complexity of protecting against Web threats creates possibly the greatest challenge to corporate security in a decade."


Updated : 2021-07-24 08:46 GMT+08:00