Viewing Adult Content at Work, Infecting Company with Malicious Spyware

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Websense, Inc. (NASDAQ:WBSN), a global leader in web security and web filtering productivity software, today announced the results of its seventh annual Web @ Workstudy, the companys yearly survey conducted by Harris Interactive. From March 15 to March 24, 2006, 351 U.S. IT decision-makers who work for organizations with at least 100 employees, at least 1 percent of whom have internet access, were interviewed online, and from March 16 to April 4, 2006, 500 U.S. employees ages 18 and older who have internet access at work and who work for organizations with at least 100 employees were surveyed over the telephone on web and software application usage in their workplace.

The 2006 survey reveals that almost half (46 per cent) of employees surveyed reported that they believe they are at risk of losing their job if they visited adult content using their work-owned internet connection. Almost one-third (30 per cent) said they would be fired if they infected the company with malicious spyware or a virus.

Perhaps due to these concerns over possible termination, 92 per cent of employees surveyed said that they believe that their company has the right to install web filtering technology to manage which types of websites they visit.

Protecting employees from hostile work environments that can result from the availability of x-rated content in the workplace will always be an important concern for organizations who seek to limit their potential legal liability for sexual harassment, said Michael Newman, vice president and general counsel, Websense, Inc. However, web-based security threats such as malicious spyware and viruses are much more difficult for both employees and companies to detect, and the potential for damage can be disastrousone accidental click of the mouse can take an entire network down for days at a time.

On the same note, 12 per cent of employees admitted that they have had a co-worker, friend, or acquaintance send a link to their work email address that they considered offensive. Similarly, 11 per cent of employees admitted that a co-worker, friend, or acquaintance has sent a link to their work email address to a website that they thought might contain spyware or lead to some sort of security risk.

2006 Web @ WorkSurvey Results:

JOB RISKEmployees feel viewing adult content at work or infecting their company with malicious spyware or a virus puts them at greater risk of losing their job than sleeping at their desk. Forty-six per cent said they believe they are at risk of losing their job by visiting adult content using their work internet connection, and 30 per cent said they would be likely to lose their job if they infected the company with malicious spyware or a virus, while only 11 per cent believe they may lose their job if they sleep at their desk.  

APPROVAL OF INTERNET FILTERINGAlthough the majority (61 percent) of employees who access the internet at work utilize the web at the office for personal reasons, 92 per cent of all employees reported that they believe that their company has the right to install internet filtering technology to manage which types of websites they visit.  

OFFENSIVE OR RISKY MATERIALTwelve per cent of employees said that they have had a co-worker, friend, or acquaintance send a link to their work email address that they considered offensive. Eleven per cent of employees said that a co-worker, friend, or acquaintance has sent a link to their work email address to a website that they thought might contain spyware or lead to some sort of security risk.  

COFFEE VERSUS THE INTERNETOf those that said they use the internet at work for personal reasons, half (50 per cent) of them said that they would rather give up their morning coffee than give up their ability to use the internet at work for personal use.  

TIME SPENTNinety three per cent of respondents said they spend at least some time accessing the internet at work. (Same as last year).  

PERSONAL SURFINGSixty oneper cent of employees who utilize a work-owned internet connection admitted that they spend at least some time surfing non work-related websites during the work day. Of those employees who access non-work-related websites, the average time spent accessing the internet at work is 12.81 hours per week, and the average time accessing non-work-related websites at work is 3.06 hours per week. This means that, on average, 24 per cent of their time spent accessing the internet is non work-related.  

TIME SPENT ON NON WORK-RELATED WEBSITESInterestingly, there is still a discrepancy between how much time IT decision-makers think employees spend accessing non work-related internet sites at work versus the time employees say they are spendingIT decision-makers estimate that their employees spend an average of 5.7 hours per week surfing non work-related websites, while employees, on average, only admit to spending 3.06 hours per week accessing non work-related sites. 

WEBSITES ACCESSEDAmong employees who access non-work-related sites at work, the top three non-work-related sites accessed are map sites such as Mapquest (83 per cent), news sites (80 per cent), and weather sites (76 per cent).  

BLOGGINGFive per cent of employees said that they have a personal blog. Of those who have a personal blog, nearly half (46 per cent) indicated that they do record work-related events or interactions with their co-workers in their personal blogs at least some amount of the time. Forty-two per cent of employees said that their company has regulations that prohibit employee-blogging. Eleven percent of employees reported that they have visited blog websites during work hours. Of those employees, 31 per cent said they visit them occasionally or very frequently.  

ONLINE PORNOGRAPHYTwelve per cent of employees have either by accident or on purpose, visited a pornography website while at work (versus 17 per cent last year). The overwhelming majority of those who have visited pornography sites at work (95 per cent) said their visit to the site was accidental.  

NON WORK-RELATED APPLICATION USEAbout one in four (24 per cent) employees watch or listen to streaming media at least once per week from work. This is up from last year (18 per cent). One in six employees (17 per cent) use instant messaging (IM) at least once per week from work. Of those employees who said they use IM, 29 per cent said they use it primarily for non-work-related purposes. Eighteen percent of employees have downloaded and stored non-work-related mp3s, personal photos, video clips, or movie clips on their work computer or network.  

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