Your work PC could be the biggest security threat in your home

(Image credit: Shutterstock / La1n)

Using a company laptop or desktop PC to work from home could be a significant security threat due to a lack of proper protection, new research has claimed.

A study from Kaspersky found that of those British workers provided with a company computer, over three-quarters of desktop devices (77%) have adequate antivirus or cybersecurity software installed, falling some way short of total protection.

Nearly a fifth (17%) of laptops supplied by UK employers also lacked security software, putting their employees at risk in this new era of remote working.

Work from home security

The study, which surveyed 2,000 UK workers, also found the lack of security protection extended to company smartphones, 23% of which are unprotected. 

As millions of employees now have to (or want to) work from home, the need for properly securing and protecting enterprise devices is greater than ever. However many workers also confessed to using personal devices to access workplace systems or information, with Kaspersky finding more than half (57%) of respondents state they use personal smartphones to check work email, while 36% rely on their personal laptop or desktop for work.

The study found that personal devices are even less likely to be protected than employer-supplied equipment, with almost half (47%) of personal smartphones lacking antivirus software, along with 43% of tablets. Overall, nearly one third (31%) of users have never thought about securing their phone with antivirus software, while a fifth (21%) believed their phone can’t be hacked.

Instead, users were far more likely to protect their computers, with 79% of laptop owners and 80% of desktop users having some form of antivirus and security software instealled.

“When company devices are used outside the workplace, they are at greater risk of cyberthreats," noted David Emm, principal security researcher at Kaspersky.

"Therefore, it’s troubling to discover that nearly a quarter of corporate computers and smartphones lack antivirus software, leaving them potentially vulnerable to attack. It’s important that all businesses pre-install staff computers and devices with security software to ensure they are protected at all times. Employers must also make sure staff know how to install or check the status of antivirus software while working on personal, or company devices from home, to secure corporate information and networks."

Mike Moore
Deputy Editor, TechRadar Pro

Mike Moore is Deputy Editor at TechRadar Pro. He has worked as a B2B and B2C tech journalist for nearly a decade, including at one of the UK's leading national newspapers and fellow Future title ITProPortal, and when he's not keeping track of all the latest enterprise and workplace trends, can most likely be found watching, following or taking part in some kind of sport.