A study from Kaspersky also reveals significant changes in the ways people work since COVID-19.
Slightly over half of employees admit to watching adult content on devices they use for work from home, a move that could be introducing security risks, according to newly released data from Kaspersky.
The report on how COVID-19 has changed the way people work also finds that 95% of people are working from home and 55% said their employers have provided them with company-owned devices.
Meanwhile, 73% said they have not received any IT security awareness training from their employer since they transitioned to working from home during the coronavirus pandemic, the report said. While 53% are using a VPN when working from home, 27% said they have received COVID-19-related malicious emails.
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Workers' new remote work situations are starting to affect their work-life balance, Kaspersky said. Nearly a third (31%) of workers said they are spending more of their time working than they did before. However, 46% said they have increased the amount of time they spend on personal activity, likely resulting from reduced commuting and travel time, the company said.
The report also revealed that it has become harder for workers to separate working and personal activity. In addition to those who admit to watching more adult content on corporate-owned devices since working from home, 33% admitting to watching adult content on their personal devices that they also use to do their work, according to Kaspersky.
Additionally, 55% of workers say they are reading more news now than they were before they started working from home. While this is to be expected with people wanting to stay updated with the latest coronavirus developments, 60% of this activity is done on devices that are used for work. This can potentially lead to malware infections if employees are not careful about the websites they visit, Kaspersky said.
Workers are also developing a habit of using their personal services for working purposes–increasing the potential risks of shadow IT, including the disclosure of sensitive information. For instance, 42% of employees use personal email accounts for work-related matters, and 49% said their usage has increased when working from home, according to the report. Thirty-eight percent use personal messengers that have not been approved by their IT departments, with 60% of them doing it more often in their new circumstances.
"Organizations cannot just fulfill all user requests, such as allowing staff to use any services as they want to," said Andrey Evdokimov, CISO at Kaspersky, in a statement. "It is necessary to find a balance between user convenience, business necessity and security."
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"To achieve this, a company should provide access to services based on the principle of only supplying minimal, necessary privileges, implement a VPN and use secure and approved corporate systems," Evdokimov said.
These types of software may have certain restrictions that slightly reduce usability but offer greater assurances in providing security measures, Evdokimov said.
To ensure businesses do all they can to keep their employees and corporate data safe, Kaspersky recommends employers follow these measures:
· Schedule basic security awareness training for employees. This can be done online and cover essential practices, such as account and password management, email security, endpoint security. Kaspersky and Area9 Lyceum have prepared a free module to help staff work safely from home.
· Ensure devices, software, applications, and services are kept updated with the latest patches
· Install proven security protection software on all endpoints, including mobile devices, and switch on firewalls. Any software used should include protection from web threats and email phishing.
For workers and users at home who have to use personal devices for work, Kaspersky advises:
· Use a reliable security solution for comprehensive protection from a wide range of threats.
· Only download entertainment content from trusted sources.
The survey was conducted between April 9-18 and had 6,017 respondents, Kaspersky said. Respondents were from the United Kingdom, the United States, Australia, France, Italy, Spain, Germany, Sweden, Russia, Mexico, Brazil, and Colombia, the company said.
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