Inappropriate Image Abuse On Taxplayer's Dime
Watching pornography while ‘on the job’, using company computers is always a bad idea or so you would think? Worse again is when the perpetrators are amongst those responsible for protecting and defending American national security. The US Pentagon Missile Defence Agency (MDA) has the function of defending the U.S against incoming ballistic missile threats and was recently reported by ABC News that some employees were watching pornography on federal government computers while on the taxpayers watch.
A leaked internal memo from the Pentagon's MDA warned staff to stop using government computers to surf the internet for porn. The Pentagon's MDA’s Executive Director sent a memo to staff regarding employees and contractors using the MDA network for inappropriate purposes. Bloomberg published a copy of the memo which stated: ‘Specifically, there have been instances of employees and contractors accessing websites, or transmitting messages, containing pornographic or sexually explicit images. These actions are not only unprofessional, they reflect time taken away from designated duties, are in clear violation of federal and DoD and regulations, consume network resources and can compromise the security of the network though the introduction of malware or malicious code."
The statement went on to warn staff found to be violating rules that they would face disciplinary action. Agency spokesman Rick Lehner responded to the leaked memo by saying only half-dozen employees had been found accessing restricted sites, and at no time had the MDA computer network been compromised.
The Bloomberg report noted that "a government cybersecurity specialist said that many pornographic websites are infected and criminals and foreign intelligence services such as Russia’s use them to gain access to and harvest data from government and corporate computer networks." This is not an isolated event and follows a series of reported Federal department compromise incidents including the U.S. Security and Exchange Commission where staff was caught red-handed using work computers for porn .
Slacking off at work in favour of surfing for porn is a growing trend. According to a recently published US report1 70% of all web traffic to internet pornography sites occurs during the working hours of 9am-5pm, with 37% of staff admitting they surf the web constantly at work.
The unfortunate reality is that almost all organisations both large and small have illicit image material freely residing and being distributed across their networks. So what can be done to ensure that your employees aren’t doing the same? The best deterrent of image misuse behaviour and a sure way of reducing corporate exposure is by monitoring what people are actually looking at on desktops/email and through routine audits find, remove and continuously monitor inappropriate content material. Keeping your company porn-free requires a pro-active approach which combines smart human resource policies and effective detection and protection security software.
Through policy enforcement, regular network scans and creating a visible line of defence, organisations can positively deal with and ultimately put a stop to this undesirable and reputational damaging activity in the workplace.
PixAlert’s advanced multi-source image discovery and detection software is a proven solution and global market leader in protecting corporate reputation, brand integrity and reducing financial risk from the distribution and storage of illicit image content on networks. PixAlert helps organisations save time and energy while significantly reducing costs by supplying best practice security solutions which comply with legislation, enforce corporate policies, enhance working environments and protect against legal proceedings and brand damage.
Date: 02 October 2012