Almost a quarter of Gen Z workers in Ireland have accessed the dark web from the workplace, it has been claimed.

Not only that but almost 40pc of workers in Ireland spend at least an hour each day using work technology for personal reasons such as social media or for booking holidays.

The dark web is the part of the World Wide Web that isn’t visible to search engines and exists on darknets that require specific software such as TOR (The Onion Router) to access.

“It’s not only information and infrastructure that’s potentially at risk here, it’s the company’s reputation and customer base”

While not all activity on the dark web is illicit, the mechanism is however used for a myriad of illegal activities, e-commerce and content, including drugs, guns and pornography.

Haunted by cyberattack fears

David Keating, group security director at DataSolutions said that if employees are engaging in personal activities at work and are perhaps engaging with unsecured websites then company servers could be susceptible to cyber-attacks.

Not only that but if employees are identified engaging in illicit activity on the dark web it could also potentially open the company up to legal and reputational risk.

While most employers don’t mind workers using the company’s technology facilities for personal reasons, the survey of 500 Irish office workers found that 20pc of workers spend over an hour every day of company time on personal matters.

The study found that 39pc of Gen Z workers spent an hour every day on personal activities during work hours followed by 26pc of millennials and 10pc of Gen X and baby boomers.

The most popular activities were reading the news online, scrolling through social media and messaging friends and family. Furthermore, 39pc of respondents admitted that they have researched or booked holidays whilst on the job, while 34pc spend company time doing personal chores such as paying bills, booking cleaners and doing their banking.

Some 42pc of office workers revealed that they had been caught engaging in personal activities and their boss didn’t have a problem with it. Meanwhile, 10pc said that their boss took action – be that a warning, disciplinary action or dismissal.

“The real question is whether employers are fully aware of what employees are doing on work devices and whether safeguards are in place to protect the organisation from associated risks,” said Keating. “It’s not about banning personal activities altogether; it’s about being aware of potential weak spots and introducing technologies that help to protect work systems and data.

“It’s not only information and infrastructure that’s potentially at risk here, it’s the company’s reputation and customer base. Irish business leaders have to take responsibility and ensure that, regardless of what staff are doing, they are taking action to shield their organisation from threats.”

“Knowledge and education is the first step on the path to protection and prevention when it comes to cybersecurity.”

DataSolutions will be discussing cybersecurity strategy at the upcoming Secure Computing Forum in the RDS on 12 September.”

Gen Z image: Gorodenkoff/Shutterstock 

Written by John Kennedy (john.kennedy3@boi.com)

Published: 29 August, 2019