Holiday Shopping at Work Raises Risks

Employees are planning to do more online holiday shopping while on the job this year, a new survey shows. And many will be using their personal smartphones and tablets.

As a result, IT managers are worried about corporate network security because personal devices may be especially vulnerable to being hacked during shopping forays. This is according to ISACA, a nonprofit IT advisory group with 95,000 members, most of whom have IT-related jobs.

In two surveys, ISACA found that the average American will spend 32 hours shopping online this holiday season, with 18 of those hours spent on a personal smartphone or tablet that's also used for work. Because those devices connect to corporate networks and access data at times, precautions need to be taken to keep hackers at bay, ISACA officials said.

"We want to ensure the bring-your-own-device trend works in a secure manner and that workers are following processes that the organization has put in place," said Rob Stroud, past international vice president for ISACA and a vice president at CA.

The BYOD trend has escalated in the past year, he added.

To prevent potential problems, companies need to educate their employees, Stroud suggested. Employers need to advise workers to remember to download OS updates, use strong passwords and avoid opening email attachments from strangers. Understanding the corporate policy for when IT may wipe a device clean is also essential.

Matt Hamblen

This version of this story was originally published in Computerworld's print edition. It was adapted from an article that appeared earlier on

Copyright © 2011 IDG Communications, Inc.

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