Blocking social websites at work may be giving cybercriminals a foot in the door

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One could be forgiven for logging on to your social network profiles while at work, but is that really the wisest thing to do?

No, taking into consider a company’s rules regarding that sort of browsing while on the clock, as well as cybercriminals preying on your desire to see what Susan got up to at the weekend.

According to anonymised data sourced from its customers through Kaspersky Endpoint Security Cloud, Kaspersky has found some interesting data.

The most popular websites visited by employees include:

  • YouTube
  • Facebook
  • Google Drive
  • Gmail
  • WhatsApp

By contrast, the website most blocked by employers are:

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Pintrest
  • Instagram
  • LinkedIn

Strangely, no video websites are blocked and we’d love to know a bit more about why that is. LinkedIn is also a noticeable entrant here, though we think you’d have to be rather bold to shop for new work on LinkedIn, using your current employers internet.

But now we look at the top services, by phishing attempts as seen by Kaspersky:

  • Facebook – 4.5 million phishing attempts
  • WhatsApp – 3.7 million phishing attempts
  • Amazon (all services) – 3.3 million phishing attempts
  • Apple (all services) – 3.1 million phishing attempts
  • Netflix – 2.7 million phishing attempts

You can see that Facebook is by far the most actively used name in phishing attempts. This does not mean Facebook is trying to phish people but rather that cybercriminals are using the reputation Facebook has in a bid to compromise a user.

The trouble here is that by blocking these website, firms could be encouraging folks to explore other ways of accessing these websites. As you might be able to infer from the phishing attempts outlined above, this can be dangerous as cybercriminals take no shame in using known entities to lure you in.

So what should management be doing?

Of course, unblocking these websites is an option but productivity and the use of resources can become a concern.

According to Tatyana Sidorina, a security expert at Kaspersky, firms should have an open discussion with employees about these services and the dangers of using other services to flout the guard-rails.

“We can’t imagine our daily lives, and work, without different web services, including social media, messenger apps and file sharing platforms. They allow us to communicate and share thoughts, ideas, images and inspiration – and this has become even more of a reality when the entire world has spent many months online this year,” says Sidorina.

“It is important for any organisation to understand where threats may come from and what technology and awareness measures are needed to prevent them. Businesses also need to provide their employees with comfortable use of services they require, so it is crucial to get the balance right,” the expert explains.

Balance then is the key but as we mentioned, it requires an open discussion.

As Sidorina mentioned, the world has shifted dramatically and with employees having adapted to a new way of working rapidly, perhaps a social media allowance for employees might be worth consideration.

[Image – CC 0 Pixabay]

Brendyn Lotz

Brendyn Lotz

Brendyn Lotz writes news, reviews, and opinion pieces for Hypertext. His interests include SMEs, innovation on the African continent, cybersecurity, blockchain, games, geek culture and YouTube.


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