Global Teleworkers Jeopardize Corporate Online Security

October 10, 2006 ( - A global study commissioned by Cisco Systems found that, while 66% of teleworkers said they are aware of security concerns when working remotely, many engage in behavior that jeopardizes online security.

According to a press release, the survey revealed that more than one in five survey respondents admitted they allowed friends, family members or other non-employees to use their work computers to access the Internet. For teleworkers in China, the percentage who admitted to sharing their work computers was 42%.

One in ten teleworkers globally reported accessing a neighbor’s wireless network with their work computers, the release said. Teleworkers in China, Italy and Brazil topped the list of those engaging in this risky behavior with almost one in five admitting doing so. Teleworkers in Germany (15%) and the US (12%) also exceeded the global average for this behavior.

Twenty-five percent of all remote workers surveyed said they open suspicious emails and attachments when using work computers. More than half (57%) of remote workers in China reported opening emails from unknown sources.

While 29% of teleworkers globally said they use their work computers for personal reasons, 40% admitted to using work computers to shop online.

Common reasons given by respondents for engaging in some of the risky behaviors included that they did not feel the behavior posed a security issue and that their company did not mind them doing so. A top reason given for accessing a neighbor’s wireless network was that the employee needed it because they were in a bind. Some respondents who admitted to shopping online with work computers said they would never get it done if they did not do it while at work.

The study consisted of end-user surveys involving at least 100 respondents in each of the following countries: the United States, United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, China, India, Australia, and Brazil.