Mobile Device Security Ignored by Federal Workers
Almost a quarter (24 percent) of federal employees send work documents to personal email accounts, and half use their personal devices for work email.Not only are federal employees using personal devices to access potentially sensitive government data, a significant number of them engage in behaviors that could put the device and, in turn, the data it contains or accesses at risk, according to a survey of 1,000 federal workers. The survey, conducted by Lookout, found this includes behaviors such as rooting, jailbreaking, and side loading applications, which involves installing applications from places other than official app stores, such as websites or links in email. Almost a quarter (24 percent) of federal employees send work documents to personal email accounts, and half use their personal devices for work email. Also, 17 percent store work-related documents on personal file sharing apps. "I have to say, I wasn't terribly surprised by the way federal employees are using their mobile devices to access and store government data. That's just the new way of working," Bob Stevens, vice president of federal systems at Lookout, told eWEEK. "I would be more surprised if we had learned that federal employees weren't doing these things." Stevens did say he was surprised by findings that indicate that federal employees are rather sophisticated in their use of mobile technology."
For example, 7 percent have rooted or jailbroken their devices. It's more than double for those with government-issued devices, which really does shock me," he said. "I'm sure there are rules or possibly even technologies in place, like mobile device management, to prevent these employees from doing this, but they of course still find ways around it."