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Pornograpy Rivals Viruses As Workplace Threat

Published: Tue 17 Oct 2000 03:21 PM
Pornography in the workplace is taking over from the e-mail virus as the biggest high-tech threat to business, according to a software expert.
Alan Schaverien, Asia-Pacific managing director of Content Technologies, says it has become common for staff to e-mail pornography at work.
International research indicates 79 per cent of employers experience abuse of their Internet and e-mail systems, including the downloading and transmission of pornography, he said.
Mr Schaverien said managers worldwide had been concentrating on the dangers of computer viruses, but workplace pornography threatened to become an even bigger problem.
“E-mailing pornography has a corrosive effect inside an organisation and exposes it to the risk of external damage as well,” he said.
Staff who were exposed to unsolicited e-mails could take a company to court for sexual harassment or failure to provide a safe workplace. The fall-out from this could then damage the company’s image.
Company efficiency was also at stake, he said. Attachments with pornographic images took up a lot of file space and could clog an organisation’s e-mail and storage systems. And staff resources were often misdirected.
Mr Schaverien said it would become important for companies to install new software designed to prevent unacceptable images, including pornography, being e-mailed into or out of companies’ networks.
PORNsweeper is an image analysis solution that works on the premise that pornographic images contain more skin pixels than other images.
The software can also distinguish between acceptable images, such as corporate profile shots, and pornography.
Face detection technology allows PORNsweeper to determine the ratio of face skin pixels to the rest of the picture, thus determining the size of the image and the amount of body in the picture. Skin detection technology then determines how much of the image is exposed skin.
William Tonkin of PORNsweeper’s New Zealand distributor, Scientific Software and Systems, said organisations were increasingly experiencing problems with staff sending and receiving unacceptable e-mails.
“People would rather not talk about it openly, but we are being approached for advice from a lot of organisations at management level” he said.
PORNsweeper was an effective way for managers to enforce an organisation’s e-mail policy.
Mr Schaverien said a clearly-stated company policy on workplace e-mail usage and unacceptable images was a necessary component of content security, although educating the workforce on the policy was equally important.
“You can’t ignore the issue of e-mail misuse in the work place. The stakes are too high. A combination of technology, policy and education can help protect organisations from the growing threat,” Mr Schaverien said.
ENDS
ABOUT CONTENT TECHNOLOGIES
Content Technologies is a leading developer of e-mail and Internet content security and policy management solutions.
Over 6,000 customers and six million users world-wide use Content Technologies MIMEsweeper family of content security solutions. The existing family of solutions includes MAILsweeper for SMTP, SECRETsweeper, MAILsweeper for Microsoft Exchange, WEBsweeper, MIMEsweeper for Domino, e-Sweeper, MAILsweeper for Archivist and PORNsweeper
MIMEsweeper, launched in 1995, was the first product on the market to scan
e-mail and attachments for content threats. The MIMEsweeper family has since become a leading solution for content security, providing organisations with content security and policy management defences against business and network integrity threats. These threats include misuse of e-mail and the Web, confidentiality breaches, exposure to e-mail legal liability, junk e-mail, Spam and spoofing, as well as e-mail-borne viruses.
Content Technologies’ MAILsweeper for SMTP Version 4.1 provides a comprehensive policy-based content security solution that enables companies to implement and manage policies to combat key business security threats posed by the Internet. The company’s SECRETsweeper product enables content management of encrypted e-mail, and e-Sweeper provides a content security solution for Service Providers and their customers.
Content Technologies is headquartered in the UK with additional offices across the USA (Seattle, New York, Boston and Washington DC), as well as in France, Germany, Australia and Japan. The MIMEsweeper family is sold both direct and through select reseller channels made up of VARs, systems integrators and Internet Service Providers.
On September 14, Baltimore Technologies announced its definitive agreement to acquire Content Technologies. Baltimore develops and markets security products and services to enable companies to develop trusted, secure systems for e-business, the Internet and mobile commerce. http://www.baltimore.com/.
For additional information, call +44 118 930 1300, or visit the Web site at http://www.contenttechnologies.com/.
All names and trademarks are recognised and acknowledged.
For more information contact:
Gerry Morris
Morris Communications
Tel 04 472 8505
gmorris@morrisgroup.co.nz
Narelle Behn-Carey
Content Technologies
Tel 00612 9413 1444
narelle.behn-carey@mimesweeper.com.au

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