Workers worried about job security might steal corporate data

Workers who are anxious about being laid off are prepared to steal corporate data on removable devices or bribe IT staffers for information, a survey has revealed.

Four out of 10 office workers in the U.K. confessed that they would steal sensitive data if they thought their jobs were at risk, according to a survey by security vendor Cyber-Ark Software Ltd. And of the 600 people surveyed globally, about 71% said that they would steal sensitive data if they were fired suddenly.

The respondents said they would take the data to their next employer or use it as a negotiating tool with their current bosses, the authors of the survey warned.

Moreover, the survey showed that rumors of looming job cuts would drive almost half of U.K. workers to use their privileged IT access rights to snoop around their company's central network looking for the redundancy list. And another quarter of workers said they would bribe someone in the IT department to find it.

Respondents who reported that they would steal data said they would likely use memory sticks, because they are small, easy to use and difficult to trace. But photocopying, e-mail, CDs, online storage, online messenger programs and iPods were also channels that people said they might use to take data from office systems.

Customer contact databases were the most likely files to be stolen, followed by strategic plans, product information and passwords. Employees were less interested in taking human resources and legal documents, according to the survey.

Adam Bosnian, a vice president at Cyber Ark, said, "Our advice is to only allow access to sensitive information to those that really need it, lock it away in a digital vault and encrypt the really sensitive data."

Cyber-Ark surveyed 600 office workers in the U.K., Netherlands and the U.S.

This story, "Workers worried about job security might steal corporate data" was originally published by Computerworld UK.

Copyright © 2008 IDG Communications, Inc.

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