Is child sexual abuse material going undetected in business IT environments?

Is child sexual abuse material going undetected in business IT environments?
13 May, 2020 Anna Borgström

Is child sexual abuse material going undetected in business IT environments?

The NetClean Report 2018 revealed that 1 in 500 employees use their work computer to consume child sexual abuse material. This data was collected from a sample of organisations that use NetClean ProActive to protect their IT environment.

For the NetClean Report 2019 we surveyed large organisations from a wider cohort, including a majority of organisations that have not invested in specific software to detect child sexual abuse material. What we found was a willingness to act on this issue, but an underinvestment in and lack of specific knowledge of how to best address a problem that affects many work places. Read Anna Borgström’s, CEO NetClean, comment on the findings in our business survey.

The will to act needs to be followed up with effective technologies

By Anna Borgström, Chief Executive Officer, NetClean

It is gratifying to see that so many of the surveyed businesses have policies and action plans in place to stop employees from consuming child sexual abuse material. This must be followed up by effective policy compliance.

Will we expand the life of every human on the planet and eradicate diseases that have plagued mankind? Can we ensure modern education for every child on the planet, lift the remaining 10% of the planet out of poverty, and reverse the implications of climate change? While we cannot predict the future, we can say that technology will play a significant role in these efforts.

Anna Borgström, CEO at NetClean

Action Plan

Child sexual abuse material poses a risk to IT environments. It is therefore vital that businesses have an action plan in place to secure evidence correctly, ensure the welfare of any employee who might have seen the content, and to manage the offender who has downloaded the abuse material to the IT environment. Next, notifying law enforcement is crucial. It is only when the incident is investigated that more material is found, and children can be safeguarded.

Handling information

The human factor needs to be considered carefully in these types of cases, and information about discoveries need to be kept to a very small group of people. One reason is that other employees might find it difficult to continue working with a suspected colleague while evidence is gathered, which could risk alerting the suspect.

“Child sexual abuse material poses a risk to IT environments. It is therefore vital that businesses have an action plan in place to secure evidence correctly,”

Effective Technologies

Most of the surveyed businesses report that they have filter technologies in place to protect their IT environment from child sexual abuse material. Although many filter technologies offer different kinds of measures to stop inappropriate content – often adult pornography – child sexual abuse material is normally not a prioritised threat. In addition, they rarely find child sexual abuse material on an image content level. As a result their effectiveness is limited. Antivirus solutions have even more limited capabilities to find and stop child sexual abuse material.

It is encouraging to see that fourteen percent of the businesses report using detections tools, which are arguably much more effective in this case. These technologies detect on image content level, and are specifically designed to find child sexual abuse material.

In this interview from the Brighthood Conference 2019, Anna Borgström, CEO at NetClean, talks about the findings in the business survey in the NetClean Report 2019.