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Workers Working Around Web Filters, Surfing Where They Please

A new study confirms what we already know: Workers are finding ways around Web filters and watchware, using business computers to surf at will.
A new study confirms what we already know: Workers are finding ways around Web filters and watchware, using business computers to surf at will.The study from Web monitoring company FaceTime shows that whether or not employees are sophisticated enough to steer clear of illicit or malware-infested sites, they are more than sophisticated enough to use tools to get around company imposed Web prohibitions and much of the filterware intended to rein in unfettered surfing.

Anonymous proxy tools are the bypass vehicle of choice, apparently, although bypass sites and services such as Hopster are gathering followers.

Hopster, in fact, touts its ability to "bypass a censoring firewall" and let users use the tools, apps and services they want to.

In yesterday's post about limiting Windows administrative rights I mentioned the challenges involved in confronting, and restricting, employees' perceptions -- and, increasingly, beliefs -- that unrestricted access to the Internet is a right, as much so at work as away from it.

Increasingly it looks as though this particularly genie may be too far out of the bottle to put back in, although filter firms such as FaceTime would doubtless dispute that.

FaceTime's own homepage, though, kicks off with a message that begins by reminding us that "The Internet Has Changed."

So have your employees, and in the face of those changes even aggressive use of filters and prohibitions has to be backed up by clear and consistently enforced policies regarding employee Web use.

A good place to start is by having a very clear policy about what happens to employees caught bypassing your controls, filters and, you guessed it, policies themselves.

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Kirsten Powell, Senior Manager for Security & Risk Management at Adobe
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