UK businesses have been warned not to let workers allow instant messaging (IM) applications in the office.
FutureSoft , a computer security specialist, said that businesses must be stricter on the use of IM clients at work, or risk malware attacks.
The warning comes after a YouGov survey found that 28 per cent of employees used IM at work at least once a week. Most of them were unaware of the risks involved, with nine out of 10 of those surveyed believing their work computer is either fairly or very secure.
"What this research proves is that the majority of employees feel that it is their employer's responsibility to secure the network and not down to them to secure their particular PC against the risk of infection through misuse of internet, email and IM," said FutureSoft's MD Claire Shaw.
FutureSoft suggested using its security solution, DynaComm i:scan , which enables businesses to manage a broad range of computer threats. The software controls what happens on every computer across the network whilst also providing the same protection for remote users on notebook computers.
The DynaComm i:scan scans, identifies, and deals with all threats, from peer-to-peer file sharing to handling to removable devices, the company said.
"There is a definite trend towards using IM with increasingly sophisticated spyware," Shaw said.
"Employees like IM for both business and personal communication and many organisations are simply unaware of the extent to which IM clients, authorised or not, are being used within their network. These two ingredients are a recipe for disaster."