Monday, November 3, 2008

Insecure behaviour

You may think that it is very careless or very unfortunate to have your computer infected with virus. Shouldn't we be very cautious in surfing the Internet, watching out for danger every step of the way, and shying away from anything dangerously attractive. What do other people do when surfing?

To answer your question, Cisco recently did a study on the behaviour of people regarding Internet security. The result was published in PC World.

The survey was based on interviews conducted with 2,000 employees in ten countries, the U.S., the U.K., France, Germany, Italy, Japan, China, India, Australia, and Brazil. The result showed that the risks taken by employees with company data can vary by nation and culture.

The Chinese and Indians were the most likely to bypass set security settings to access unauthorized websites, with 52%, i.e. more than half of the people, saying they would do this because it was their own business on which sites they visited. U.S. and Indian employees were the most likely to use unauthorized applications with, respectively, 74% and 79% admitting they would do such a thing with their office laptops and PCs. This is the form of risky behavior identified by IT staff as causing most data leakages. A large majority, more than two-third of employees, did it. In Germany, the biggest security problem was simply letting non-employees wander freely around the office without supervision.

Cisco realized that businesses were enabling employees to become increasingly collaborative and mobile. Data is now always in transit, in use, within programs, stored on devices, and in places beyond the traditional business environment, such as at home, on the road, in cafes, on airplanes and trains. Companies with a global footprint have to be aware of different cultures and be willing to tailor their security education to fit in with differences in attitude.

I don't know if people view Internet security differently at home and in the office. I would have thought employees should be more cautious because a slip of hand in the office could have serious consequence to the entire office network. However, the survey showed that many employees have a carefree attitude towards Internet security in the office. You can guess how Internet security is viewed at home. So, you could go with the norm and surf wherever you like. But get your anti-virus program up and running, and back up all your data.


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