Sex and the e-City

It’s often claimed that men think about sex very seven seconds. Sorry, where was I? Oh yes… I’m not sure where that pseudo-statistic comes from: apparently not from the Kinsey report as is often claimed, and a more recent poll, while reflecting perhaps more liberated views about sexuality than could be admitted to in the 1950s, actually suggests that 43% of men think about It several times a day, compared to the 54% cited by Kinsey. Perhaps we spend less time thinking about it nowadays because we have more opportunities to experience it.

Well, there are lots of exciting statistics to drool over at the two links above, but this is supposed to be a family blog. (Actually, it isn’t, but it’s not supposed to be salacious either!) What do dubious statistics about romping in the hay (too bad I have hay fever…) have to do with security?

An article in Computer Weekly started me thinking in this direction (in between thoughts about The Other – sorry, about other things). Apparently, nearly a third of professional workers have sent explicit emails, or dumped partners by email, according to a Proofpoint survey to which I haven’t seen a direct link. (I’m afraid the article doesn’t mention if the survey breaks those figures down by gender,  if that interests you. :-) Furthermore, nearer 40% of respondents have apparently applied for jobs elsewhere from their work PCs.

Not everyone considers this sort of occasional misuse of company facilities to be a big security issue, of course. What is a major issue, though, is the average computer user’s apparent inability to distinguish between their work and private life. Well, I guess it’s one way to restore some semblance of normality to a workaholic’s work/life balance. But there are a whole load of security issues around it.

Businesses are increasingly paranoid about all sorts of online activity- not just social networking such as Facebook and Twitter, but older forms of file sharing and messaging. Not just because of the security risks associated with malware, social engineering, data leakage and so on, but because of less obvious risks such as potential damage to the company’s reputation, all manner of legal and compliance issues, duty of care to employees, and so on. No wonder employers like the city of Bozeman are tempted to overstep acceptable boundaries in attempt to monitor or even regulate their employee’s web activity. Bozeman’s officials apparently wanted to ride roughshod over their employees’ constitutional rights, but they do seem to have more of a grasp of the security problems associated with social networking than most employees do.

I’m relieved, however, to learn that the story about the memory span of a goldfish being just a few seconds is also a myth. It saves me wasting any more of my life wondering whether they have time to think about sex.

David Harley BA CISSP FBCS CITP
Director of Malware Intelligence

Author David Harley, ESET

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