Your boss could be the biggest cyber-threat in the office

(Image credit: Tim Gouw / Pexels)

New research from OneLogin has found that there may be an unexpected source for the malware infecting corporate devices: bosses. 

The company’s “Covid-19 State of Remote Work Survey 2.0,” which collected data from 2000 US and UK remote workers, claims that senior management personnel often showed the most casual attitude to cybersecurity.

According to OneLogin, senior managers were more than twice as likely to share a work device with an individual outside their organization than their junior counterparts, while 19% of senior managers shared passwords with someone in their family compared to just 7% of junior staff. Similarly, 30% of senior employees reported working from public Wi-Fi networks compared to only 15% of junior staffers.

Leading by example

Other interesting findings include that workers in the US appear to be less security-focused than those in the UK. Remote workers in the US shared their devices 7% more than those in the UK and worked using public Wi-Fi at a higher rate.

Additionally, it appears that female staff employ better security practices than their male counterparts, working less on public Wi-Fi networks, and avoiding downloading personal applications to work devices.

Although most businesses have adapted quickly to enable their staff to continue working in the era of social distancing, there have been hiccups along the way. Clearly, improvements still need to be made in terms of cybersecurity – particularly among senior members of staff.

“The effects of the pandemic mean that virtually all organizations are now operating, to some degree, outside of the controlled and protected office environment,” said Brad Brooks, CEO of OneLogin. 

“That is, without the corporate-grade firewalls and on-site IT people we all once relied on for protection. It has never been more important for employees to take personal responsibility for their own security posture. Understanding the sanctity of their corporate passwords and devices, and the potential dangers of working on an unsecure Wi-Fi network should be top priorities for all remote workers. More importantly, it is up to senior management to lead by example. Unfortunately, these results appear to indicate otherwise.”

Barclay Ballard

Barclay has been writing about technology for a decade, starting out as a freelancer with ITProPortal covering everything from London’s start-up scene to comparisons of the best cloud storage services.  After that, he spent some time as the managing editor of an online outlet focusing on cloud computing, furthering his interest in virtualization, Big Data, and the Internet of Things.