Computer misuse by men causes surge in spyware on office PCs

Men are twice as likely as women to download and swap free music files at work on a daily basis. This means they are responsible for a surge in spy software on workplace computers, according to research.

A survey of 300 men and women showed that male workers consistently made more regular use of the online facilities and PC technologies that often act as the source of malicious threats.

Internet security company SurfControl asked office workers how frequently they made use of programs most likely to be a threat.

While men are more than twice as likely to use USB ports and to run CD-Rom and DVD media daily, they are three times more likely to download free software everyday in the office.

Programs which could install spyware on office computers include:

Personal instant messaging and web-based e-mail

Downloading and swapping free video and music files

Playing online games, recreational surfing

Downloading free software

Using removable media such as DVD, CD-Rom and USB flash drives.

Steve Purdham, CEO of SurfControl, said the risk of spyware entering the network should be cause for concern among employees as well as employers as the software could pick up private details such as bank account numbers.

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