Majority of workers ignore the risks of web links and attachments in emails

A survey into the habits of 142 UK office workers conducted by Finjan, the global provider of best-of-breed proactive web security solutions, has uncovered that although they know the security risk to their employers caused by clicking on web-links or opening attachments from unknown sources, they simply can’t help themselves.

Of those questioned 93 per cent said that they knew that links, attachments, pop boxes and web pages could have spyware or other forms of malicious code embedded within them. However, 86 per cent admitted that they opened attachments and clicked on links without being sure if it was safe to do so.

With spam designers becoming increasingly ingenious in creating emails that encourage people to open web-links or attachments, another worrying finding of the survey is that 76 per cent of respondents opened what they assumed to be viral marketing files, such as ‘funny’ videos, jokes and web sites.

The survey also revealed that:

* 57 per cent of employees click on web-links embedded in ‘gossip’ and news emails
* 64 per cent are happy to open web-links or attachments without checking the authenticity or identity of the originator

A recent security audit run by Finjan for a European organisation in the finance sector, usually one of the most security-savvy marketplaces, revealed that an overwhelming 67% of security policy violations discovered over a one week period were related to spyware downloads, attempts to access spyware websites or attempts to access websites that hide executable spyware.

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