IT workers admit to looking up confidential and private information

One in three IT workers abuse their access to company systems by looking at confidential information, including private files, wage data, and personal e-mails of their colleagues, according to research.

A survey conducted by Cyber-Ark Software, a provider of software for securing administrative passwords, found that one-third of the 200 people questioned admitted they could still access their company’s network even after they had left their current position.

According to Cyber-Ark, one respondent said: “Why does it surprise you that so many of us snoop around your files – wouldn’t you if you had secret access to anything you can get your hands on?”

Moreover, more than half of respondents said they used sticky notepads to store administrative passwords, while eight in 10 IT professionals store administrative passwords in their heads, blocking security efforts, business continuity, as well as the auditing, controlling and managing of passwords, according to the software provider.

Calum Macleod, European director for Cyber-Ark, said: “It’s surprising to find out how rife snooping is in the workplace. Gone are the days when you had to break into the filing cabinet in the personnel department to get at vital and highly confidential information. Now all you need to have is the administrative password and you can snoop around most places.

“Companies need to wake up to the fact that if they don’t introduce layers of security, tighten up who has access to vital information, and manage and control privileged passwords, then snooping, sabotage and hacking will continue to be rife,” he said.

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