Data theft culture ‘flourishing,’ survey finds

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Data theft culture ‘flourishing,’ survey finds

Tash Shifrin

A culture of data theft is flourishing in UK workplaces, security experts have warned.

A survey of more than 1,000 UK workers carried out by research company Tickbox.net for security firm Prefix IT found that 60% admitted to theft of confidential documents, customer databases, business contacts or sales leads. 

But the survey found that managers were unaware of the scale of the problem. Just 7% of managers believed their companies had been affected by data theft, while 29% of managers said the issue was not recognised at board level. 

The survey revealed that 73% of workers were not aware of any special security measures to prevent workplace data theft and 44% were unaware of policy explaining what could and could not be taken home.

Nearly two-thirds of those surveyed - 63% - said there were no restrictions on using personal portable devices such USB memory sticks in the workplace, while the same proportion believed that staff “think nothing of taking things from the workplace”.

Prefix IT chief executive Graeme Pitts-Drake said, “While trust in staff is laudable, it is professionally negligent not to protect company assets appropriately through policy and technical means. Failing to communicate with staff about un-acceptable activities is tantamount to endorsing theft.”

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