Survey finds that more than a fifth of Gen Z workers have accessed the dark web

Irish workers spend more than an hour a day on personal matters, including social media

Companies’ reputations and customer bases are being put at risk by the online activity of their employees

Companies’ reputations and customer bases are being put at risk by the online activity of their employees

 

More than a fifth of Gen Z workers said they have accessed the dark web, an area of the internet sometimes used to buy and sell illegal materials including explosives and drugs.

The new survey also found a fifth of Irish workers spend more than an hour a day on personal matters, including reading the news, checking social media, and messaging friends and family, potentially putting companies and their clients at risk.

The research, carried out by Censuswide for IT solutions company DataSolutions, found that personal online activity at work was more common among younger employees in the 16-23 age group, with 39 per cent of Gen Z workers spending more than an hour on personal matters compared with 26 per cent of Millennials and 10 per cent of Gen X and Baby Boomers.

Aside from keeping up to date with world events, some 39 per cent of respondents to the survey said they researched and booked holidays on company time, while 34 per cent paid their bills, did online banking and booked cleaners.

More than 42 per cent said their boss had caught them using work time for personal matters and had no problem with it; only 10 per cent were subjected to some sort of disciplinary action, including warnings and dismissals.

But Data Solutions’ group security director David Keating warned companies’ reputations and customer bases were being put at risk.

“Our findings show that employees are using company time, and often company devices, to carry out personal tasks. If employees are engaging in personal activities at work, and perhaps interacting with unsecure websites or entering confidential information, company servers could be more susceptible to cyberattacks,” he said.

“The real question is whether employers are fully aware of what employees are doing on work devices and whether safeguards are in place to protect the organisation from associated risks. It’s not about banning personal activities altogether; it’s about being aware of potential weak spots and introducing technologies that help to protect work systems and data.”

The survey was carried out by Censuswide in May 2019 among 500 Irish office workers in Irish-based businesses.