back to article Smut blocking? We're more bothered about Bebo

Travel, webmail, and social networking sites are more commonly blocked by businesses than gambling and adult content sites. A survey of 300 security pros by security firm Webroot found that workers frequently visit travel, webmail, and social networking websites while attempts to surf smut or gambling sites are less common. …


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  1. Solomon Grundy

    Social Networks

    So what's the story here? Everyone knows that social networks are a waste of intelligence and a huge contributor to negative climate change, why is it news that they are security loopholes for companies?

    Anyone caught using a social network at work will be executed. Just kidding, but we do block them all at work and hold raises for people who use the sites.

  2. Anonymous Coward


    ..Just so we can use a proxy like to unblock them :-)

  3. AB

    @Solomon Grundy

    "we do block [all social networking sites] at work and hold raises for people who use [them]"

    So you block them, and then hold raises for people who attempt to access them? Or are you h4x0r1ng their home internet connection and judging them for being pirates/ninjas on their own time?

    I hope you don't work for my company! :P

    I should add that I've stopped using social networking sites for anything other than occasionally finding out when/where a real-life event is taking place, as the initial thrill of receiving messages from people I didn't like at school (how are you!?!?!? it's been so long!!!!") wore off fairly fast and has been replaced with... pirates and ninjas.

  4. Pete James

    In my wallet today I have a helicopter..........

    It's interesting to see that there has been some maturity in web usage during worktime. Although I personally can't be bothered with all this facebook/myspace/bebo nonsense, if it allows others to have a bit of a brain break every so often then companies would be better served allowing access during recognised rest times. We've all seen the dreamed up stats about money lost due to web surfing, but no-one ever looks at the impact of draconian policies and their negative efffects on staff - meaning lower work quality and slower performance.

  5. Anonymous Coward

    +ve & -ves

    Now, I look upon some of the postings here as kind of knee jerk. yes there are negatives to social networking sites, but there are also positives. They enhance morale at work, and the only real thing that needs to be enforced is the amount of time and when the sites are accessed. To simply block a social site is pushing it a bit far in my honest opinion, and I know I'm not alone (far from being alone) when I say that you should only 'police' the usage during core working hours.

    (obviously, the a portion of pages on these social sites could be contrived as being offensive, but would you really block a news site because it showed an offensive story? Good judgment and thorough thought is needed)

  6. Elmer Phud

    Wasted time v's Trojans?

    Presumably companies are more concerned about time being wasted than Trojans and other lovely things from gambling and porn sites.

    Spammers are just spammers fer f's sake, a right pain in the arse and not much more. How are they more risky than opting to become part of a bot-net?

  7. Adam Peters

    RE : ..Just so we can use a proxy like to unblock them :-)

    Not if your content filter is actively blocking proxy sites such as that......

    That'll teach the cheeky buggers. Plus we also then know who has been actively trying to bypass company security. At one point, no-one was doing any work and was logged into Facebook.

  8. TrishaD


    I think that there's a very simple reason why adult sites are not particularly popular destinations for people surfing at work. And that's that most consider access to such sites to be gross misconduct and fire people accordingly....

    This tends to focus the mind somewhat.....

    Social Networking sites arent considered to be offensive and attitudes to them are accordingly different.

    Whether people should be allowed to access Social Networking sites is another matter. There's a perfectly legitimate argument that states that individuals have no right to use company equipment for personal use and any company consistently applying a policy based on that argument is perfectly entitled to do so.

    My personal opinion is that denial of access to sites that may be considered offensive should be rigourously enforced but that access to anything else should be down to the discretion of management. When it comes down to it, they're the ones who should know if someone's productive or not....

  9. Silentmaster101
    Gates Horns

    @pete james

    who cares? its not the users machines, they are the companies, and i for one think they should stick to using their home machines or their precious cell phones. anyone here that uses one get blocked from accessing the entire internet for a week. its made clear by the boss that nobody is to use them.

    they can go someplace else if they want to waste company time, because we found that, if they can get to it, they waste way more than their break times looking at them.

  10. Tom

    enable them

    I think that people should be allowed to access such sites, but if they fall behind on their work its taken away.

    Also blocking proxy servers isnt always best, especially in my work as I need to check websites from remote locations to see if DNS and what not has propagated correctly, so blocking proxies means I cant do this.

  11. AB
    Paris Hilton

    Where's the Paris angle?

    This doesn't really tell us much. Some survey of 300 unidentified 'security professionals' tells us more employees are using social networking, travel, webmail at work than than are playing online poker or pocket pool... possibly because the first category seems a lot less likely to get the average office worker in trouble, as any fule no.

    Did the survey co-ordinators forget to ask what percentage of users are spending time at El Reg, and what level of business threat that constitutes?

    From the title, this had the look of a fairly interesting article, but stopped short of providing much to chew on. Please Sir, may I have some more?

    Paris, because she's devoid of content

  12. Pyros

    Just as a side note...

    The only reason why there's fewer left-handed browsing (thank you BOfH for the term!) in companies' filters mainly has to do with privacy. Imagine getting off when your co-workers are nearby (and quite possibly *watching*?!?!)

    That's why home computers exist.

  13. Anonymous Coward

    what about sports sites

    I'd laugh more if the football sites were blocked - facecrack is nothing compared to the abuse of works connections for football....

  14. Snert Lee


    A dozen or so entries in the proxy will block off the more popular webmail and social networking sites, while trying to get the same level of coverage on gambling and porn will take hundreds of entries.

  15. Pete James

    @ Silentmaster101

    I never really understood the concept some people have, such as you and your bosses, that staff are mere fodder for the machine. I'll explain why:

    Firstly, it's your staff that enabled your company to exist and prosper in the first place, so this thing about desktops etc being the propert of the company is rather disingenuous.

    Secondly, blanket blocking policies only demonstrates a draconian and rather myopic view of user policies. They also don't work when appplied to topics such as IM.

    Third, any company that treats staff with such disdain can expect low staff loyalty and/or motivation. Cut your people some slack and you may be surprised at what you get back in terms of positive employment relations and productivity.

    Overall though I feel rather sorry for you. Must be a wonderful atmospehere in your office. Not.

  16. Tim Bates
    Thumb Up


    I personally go with the logic that if you're employer is paying for the net access, then it's for work. If they block Bebo or some other pointless "service" then deal with it and grow up.

    I personally used to try very hard to keep students at the school I work for from accessing Bebo/Myspace/Facebook/etc for privacy reasons. Some were wasting more than half of EACH lesson ducking off to the library or computer rooms unsupervised just to check if someone had poked them or whatever... All while using the excuse of "Can I go to the toilet, miss?"

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