Technology

Porn At Work: Civil Servant’s Porn Love Infects Govt. Network With Malware

porn at work
geralt / Pixabay

Love for porn of one U.S. civil servant is responsible for infecting an entire government network with malware. This startling revelation of porn at work came after an audit by the U.S. Department of the Interior’s inspector general.

Viewed thousands of porn pages

In the audit, the agency found that a USGS (U.S. Geological Survey) network at the EROS Center in South Dakota was infected by malware. Further investigation revealed that a civil servant’s love for porn was the real culprit.

“Our digital forensic examination revealed that [the employee] had an extensive history of visiting adult pornography websites” noting that “the malware downloaded to [the employee’s] government laptop, which then exploited the USGS’ network,” the agency noted in its report published on Oct. 17

The investigation found that the U.S. civil servant browsed thousands of porn pages (at least 9,000), which were plagued with malware, from his work station. Also, the investigation revealed that the employee transferred many porn images to a USB device and to his Android phone, which was also found to be filled with malware.

Following the investigation, the U.S. Department of the Interior’s inspector general has asked the USGS to adopt a “strong blacklist policy” against such unauthorized websites to prevent a similar situation in the future. Also, the agency has been advised to disable USB access on the workstations. The employee in question has reportedly been fired.

The malware that infected the government network was a type of ransomware attack. In a ransomware attack, hackers use computer code to take control of a person’s computer, and demand money in exchange.

Luckily, the ransomware did no harm. A spokesperson for the Interior’s inspector general told TechCrunch that the EROS Center monitors and archives images of the planet’s land surface and does not run any classified networks. So, no chances of any harm to security.

Porn at work – not a new thing

Watching porn at work is not a new thing. This USGS employee is not the first government servant to be caught watching porn on taxpayer’s equipment. Previously, employees at the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Environmental Protection Agency have also been caught watching porn at work.

A point worth noting is that such instances don’t end despite people knowing that what they are doing is wrong and could even cost them their job. A 2017 investigation found that over 100 employees in 12 major federal agencies either watch or were caught watching porn at work.

Watching porn at work has legal and ethical consequences for both employees and employers. The main concern, of course, is the loss of productivity with employees watching porn on workstations during work hours. But, nowadays a bigger concern – as has been highlighted by the USGS case – is the network getting infected with malware. This could have even greater consequences, and even threaten national security.

Most of the employers now have a clause in the employment contract to protect the workstations from misuse, including viewing porn at work. Such contracts give employers a valid reason to terminate the employee who views porn at work. Moreover, watching porn on a personal device is also an offense under some agreements if the employee does it during work hours.

Online porn – a big industry

Online porn is a massive industry. In 2016, about 92 billion porn videos were viewed on Pornhub, which is the biggest free internet porn site. Moreover, almost half of the videos were viewed between the usual work hours of 9 a.m. and 6 p.m., notes a report from the Financial Times last year.

Talking of markets for online pornography, the U.S. is the biggest consumer in terms of per capita. The UK is the third. Surprisingly, Iceland is at second. Porn now is increasingly being viewed on mobile devices. In 2016, about 70% of the hits on online pornography in the U.S. were from mobile devices.

Pornhub, earlier this year, released its 5th Annual Year in Review, highlighting the stats related to most-popular porn and the countries that watched them. They revealed that more than 28.5 billion (or 81 million per day) visitors visited their website. Overall, four million porn videos were uploaded, including 81,000 amateur videos.

The top countries by traffic were the U.S., the UK and India. Trending “things” and topics included a popular Netflix show Rick and Morty and fidget spinners. Believe it or not, people searched for these following the word “porn.”