Illegal internet downloads at work skyrocket


The number of people downloading illegal content in the workplace has risen at an alarming rate, according to new research.

So claims security firm ScanSafe, which has released data on internet use trends garnered in more than 100 countries over the past three months. The data indicates a 55 per cent rise in the number of employees attempting to download unauthorised software and MP3s at work.

Workers were increasingly turning to their work's web connections for their internet downloads, according to the company who suggested the fact that most people now have always-on internet both at work and at home had led to a blurring of the lines in the kind of online activity people were involved in.

According to ScanSafe's director of product management, Spencer Parker, "employees mistakenly assume they can use the internet at work in exactly the same way as they use it at home".

And while losing sight of an employer's policy on internet use may be a relatively innocent mistake, Parker points out a bigger issue. "Downloading illegal content is a double whammy for employers: not only does it put them at risk legally but it also puts the company network at risk of being infected with malware," he said.

"A large majority of free illegal downloading websites are often riddled with malware."

In the past, ScanSafe has suggested that the solution is a compromise between companies softening their internet use policies (and making sure employees are well informed as to what those strategies are) and individuals taking greater personal responsibilities for holding up their end of the deal.

ScanSafe was taken over recently by communications giant Cisco for $183 million in a deal first announced in October.