Utility workers risking their jobs with careless security habits


While much of the nation returns to working exclusively from home, utility workers continue to venture out in the midst of the pandemic to help those in need.

However, despite the continuation of their work through these troubled times, a new study has shown that utility workers’ security and cybersecurity practices could be putting their jobs at risk in 2021. 

A poll of 1,002 UK workers carried out by VPNOverview.com, cybersecurity experts, found that a staggering 56% of employees in the utilities industry do not think about security when working. 

Furthermore, 41% of those working in the utilities sector admitted they have not considered what the implications of a security or cybersecurity breach might be on their work and job security.

Although 41% of utility workers do not consider their security and cybersecurity while working remotely, when asked, a surprising 34% of employees believe that they could lose their job if their working device’s security was compromised. 

Comparatively, only 13% of workers surveyed in this industry are worried about their overall job security currently. 

Given the unquestionable immediate impact of higher unemployment due to the on-going pandemic, the results of the research show that the lack of security and cybersecurity acumen amongst the sector as a whole whilst working from home could also be causing additional employment vulnerabilities.

Utility workers are risking an average loss of £3,150 in company-owned hardware and unnamed sums in company data by not taking simple security and cybersecurity measures while they work.

The top ways utility workers are leaving themselves vulnerable to a security or cybersecurity breach are: leaving their working devices in vehicles or in plain view of windows (64%), leaving working devices, e.g. laptops, phones and tablets, without password protection (53%), not working on secured servers, databases or cloud systems, such as Google Docs (36%), not using a password-protected wi-fi (32%). 

David Janssen, security researcher and founder at VPNOverview.com comments: “It’s worrying to see how many utility workers are not taking into consideration their security and cybersecurity, whilst frequently working remotely and on home visits. Being out and about with work devices on a regular basis makes their security a lot more vulnerable, but this is easily resolved by ensuring the correct security systems are in place.

“Businesses and employees need to work together to ensure they are taking the necessary precautions to keep their work devices protected from attacks – by using passwords, secured servers and VPN networks – to make sure jobs are not unintentionally being put at risk.”

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