1 in 5 UK workers believe hackers do a worthwhile job – survey

A third of UK professionals are likely to consider risky behaviours that endanger or undermine data protection, a survey has found.

The research, commissioned by Courion and conducted by OnePoll, was based on surveying 1000 UK employees who have access to customer data at work.

The results suggest a lack of awareness of basic data protection policies and worrying behaviours such as snooping on sensitive personal information and sharing work login details with colleagues.

While the majority of the respondents recognise that hackers are criminals, one in five believe hackers do a worthwhile job by exposing security defects that should have been fixed by organisations.

Notably, the younger generation holds this view more than their older counterparts with a quarter of 18-24 respondents supporting this view.

This age gap is significant throughout the findings with the younger Millennial generation sometimes twice as likely to be more cavalier with their access habits.

For example, 30% of the 18-24 years old respondents would snoop on sensitive customer data at work compared to only 12% of the 45-54 years old employees.

“The results point to a worrying lack of understanding of the importance of adhering to strict data protection guidelines,” said Chris Zannetos, CEO and Founder of Courion.

“As organisations are opening their networks to an increasing number of external users and employees, ensuring tougher controls on how access to sensitive data is granted, monitored and controlled is vital to preventing security breaches.

>See also: Know your cyber-attacker: profiling a hacker

“Instead of relying on the good intentions of their employees, businesses should consider deploying technologies that can automatically enforce data protection policies and use data insight to dynamically monitor and analyse access risk.”

 The research also revealed that men are more reckless than women when it comes to breaching their employer’s data protection policies.

Male employees are twice more likely to access the database of an old employer if they still have access rights and more likely to pass on confidential information for money or if they feel they’ve been treated unfairly (36% men vs. 21% women).

27% of respondents said that the Morrisons employee was right to steal payroll data in the security breach that took place in March this year. 30% would pass on confidential information about their employer if they suspected they were involved in illegal activity

39% of people share work login details with colleagues despite the regular warnings about protecting passwords, while a third would consider accessing a previous employer’s data to help them with a new job.

A third would also access or download information from a previous employer using an old password, and 21% would snoop on sensitive personal data if had have access to it.

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Ben Rossi

Ben was Vitesse Media's editorial director, leading content creation and editorial strategy across all Vitesse products, including its market-leading B2B and consumer magazines, websites, research and...

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