informa
/
2 MIN READ
News

Porn Found On One In Four Corporate PCs

Think there aren't any pornographic images on your users' desktops or laptops? Think again. A new study shows that they're being downloaded and sent via e-mail through the office.
A new study found pornography on one in four PCs despite the use of content filtering technology at the gateway.

PixAlert, a company that focuses on keeping illicit images out of corporate networks, audited 10,000 PCs on 125 business and public sector networks over the last nine months. The study found that one-quarter of the computers contained pornography or "other inappropriate images." The same audit found that 12.4% of the 12,000 e-mail accounts and 5.4% of 26,000 file server shares scanned were similarly affected.

"With over a third of all images found created in the last 12 months, it is clear that a significant number of employees continue to ignore corporate policies and in some cases are going to extraordinary lengths to bypass protection systems in order to obtain and distribute inappropriate material," said Andy Churley, a director at PixAlert, in a written statement. "Corporate officers wrongly assume that boundary protection systems stop all digital pornography from entering the organization but, in PixAlert's experience, almost all corporations will have a significant amount of pornography on their networks."

The study found that 46.8% of the images showed full nudity or sexual activity and 0.3% of all the images were determined to be illegal. While 35% were downloaded online images, 45.2% of the images detected came from e-mails. The study also found that 35.5% were sent internally. "While all organizations actively discourage access to inappropriate images at work, our audits show that the reality is that all establishments have a lot of digital pornography residing on their networks that they don't know about," said Churley. "Companies are particularly concerned when they have visibility of the number of pornographic images being distributed by e-mail internally or sent out to other organizations using a corporate e-mail address."

Last month, Maryland authorities nabbed 22 state employees who were visiting pornographic Web sites -- sometimes a few thousand times a week -- on the job. Investigating officials reported that the number of employees involved was understated, and a wider investigation is being called for.

Pornographic images aren't the only problem in business settings. In February, forensic investigators announced that they went over 70 used hard drives bought from 14 sources and recovered "private information" on 62% of them. While they did indeed find pornographic images, they also found one man's will and a man's personal fan letter to a female celebrity.

Editor's Choice
Brian T. Horowitz, Contributing Reporter
Samuel Greengard, Contributing Reporter
Nathan Eddy, Freelance Writer
Brandon Taylor, Digital Editorial Program Manager
Jessica Davis, Senior Editor
Cynthia Harvey, Freelance Journalist, InformationWeek
Sara Peters, Editor-in-Chief, InformationWeek / Network Computing