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Firms blocking Facebook

A survey by security firm Sophos shows that half of employees are unable to access the social networking site while at work.

Half of employees are blocked from accessing social networking site Facebook at work, according to research by security firm Sophos.

In an online survey of 600 workers, 43 per cent of respondents said their company had blocked all access to the site, while another seven per cent were allowed access only if it was related to business requirements. Another eight per cent reported their company had not blocked access to the site because of concerns about a potential employee backlash.

"Companies are split on the question of Facebook. Some believe it to be a procrastinator's paradise which can lead to identity theft if users are careless. Others either view it as a valuable networking tool for workers or are too nervous of employees' backlash if the site is suddenly blocked," said Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant at Sophos, in a statement. "If workers are allowed to be given access to these sites then it's imperative that they are taught best practices to ensure that they are not putting their personal and corporate data at risk."

A second online survey conducted by Sophos showed two-thirds of respondents worried that their co-workers were putting themselves at risk of identity theft and phishing attacks by putting too much detailed personal information on the site.

Last week, IT PRO reported the opening salvo in Sophos' campaign against the social networking site, as the security firm released research showing that Facebook users were willing to make friends with a frog - thereby divulging personal details to someone they did not know.

"Employees may not like it, but these websites can represent a security risk if used carelessly. Unless there's a work purpose, many firms do not see any reason why staff should need to access them during work time," said Cluley. "Companies are increasingly looking to secure and control their workers' web activity because of the impact it can have on the company in terms of productivity, bandwidth and security."

 

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