UAE employees “very likely” to use unsecured WiFi networks on…

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Palo Alto Networks has announced new online research that shows the majority of UAE workers would be likely to use open and unsecured WiFi networks while on vacation, placing their employer’s devices and wider network at risk.

The online research revealed that 78% of UAE workers would be “very likely” or “likely” to use a device issued by their employer to access the internet on an open WiFi network while away on vacation, which can leave unprotected devices open to security threats.

Conducted by YouGov, the study surveyed 685 workers in the UAE and revealed that 49% of workers were “very likely” to use a device issued by their employer to access the internet on an unsecured WiFi network while away on vacation, while another 29% were “likely” to do the same.

Haider Pasha, Regional Chief Security Officer (CSO), Emerging Markets, Palo Alto Networks, said, “This research should be a reminder for all for employers in the UAE and the wider GCC. It shows a lack of cybersecurity awareness among staff and demonstrates the need for organisations to have a comprehensive cybersecurity strategy covering all connected devices used by employees for work.

“With people using ever more connected devices, from laptops and smartphones to tablets and smart watches, the potential for security breaches is increasing. It only takes one unprotected device to open up an organisation to a potential cyberattack,” he added.

Only a minority of the UAE workers surveyed indicated that they would avoid using their work devices on open networks while on vacation: 13% of workers said they were “not very likely” to use an open network and just 6% were “not likely at all” to use such a network with a work device.

“The results, particularly from the UAE survey, are a stark reminder of the need for employers to have robust cybersecurity systems and procedures in place and to ensure that all devices used by staff for work-related tasks are accounted for and covered by the company’s cybersecurity systems,” Haider Pasha said. He also recommended that organisations educate their staff about the risks of open WiFi networks and how to access them in a secure way.

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