Reflections on the NetClean Insights report
By Anna Borgström, NetClean CEO
Last week NetClean released NetClean Insights, a first-of-its-kind survey targeting senior IT professionals and assessing the threat that they face from child sexual abuse material (CSAM). I must say that I was taken by the numbers that were revealed but I’m not at all surprised.
Over the years when I have spoken to IT security directors and managers in medium to large companies, they often enclose that they have stumbled across suspected child sexual abuse material on company computers. The images or videos are often discovered when the computer has caught a virus and is taken to the IT department for a clean-up.
Child sexual abuse material is often accessed or downloaded from risky environments, and employees using their work computer to commit this crime often expose their computer or device to different types of security threats, such as malware, trojans, and viruses. The employees can also leave traces that could lead back to the company.
Some of the IT professionals I have talked to have touched on the risk of blackmail. Accidental exposure to child sexual abuse material is another risk, particularly to the IT personnel who must cope with what he or she has seen. If you are exposed to child sexual abuse material and not trained for it, it can be very traumatizing.
It is vital that businesses have an action plan in place to secure evidence correctly, ensure the welfare of employees who might have seen the content, and manage the offender who has downloaded child sexual abuse material to the IT environment. Next, notifying Law Enforcement is crucial. It is only when incidents are investigated that more material can be found, and children can be safeguarded.
What surprises me the most, is that 64% of all organizations have experienced a case of child sexual abuse material in the past five years and 57% of the respondents have had repeat incidents in the same organization. That is a lot.
Not only are the companies risking the IT environment and the cost that comes with the production loss of an unhealthy IT environment, but they are also risking the integrity of the brand. Companies need to have specific technology in place that is built to detect child sexual abuse material regardless of source, and defined processes of how to act on the findings.
If you have seen a child sexual abuse image you would do anything in your power to disrupt the consumption of these images. The pictures are crime scenes depicting children being raped and need to be handled accordingly. According to the report, awareness among IT professionals is high, but it truly is time to transform this knowledge into action.
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