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Why you should stop using your work computers, phones for personal use

SALT LAKE CITY – Many Utahans still work from home, spending a lot of time on their computers at work. That makes it easy to forget that it’s not a personal computer. Many of us mix work and personal things, in fact one study found that more than half of us use our work tools for personal use, too. But clearing browser history is not enough to hide signs of personal browsing, shopping or posting on our work machines. And there are many things that can get us in trouble.

At Nexus IT Consultants, they manage IT and cybersecurity for many Utah businesses. Owner Earl Foote says part of that means monitoring the activity of work devices provided by employees to their clients.

“We’re deploying technologies that help us monitor the activity that takes place on computers,” Foote said. “Activity that can be harmful, or evil, or can cause weaknesses.”

So, Foote warns anyone who uses their work computers and phones for personal things: “It’s a bad idea.”

Reason number one: You are endangering the security of your employer. Say you open a personal email with a link from a friend that says, “Hey, you need to see this!” Basically, it’s from a hacker and that link infects your work computer with malware or some kind of ransomware.

“It spreads the ransomware to dozens, maybe hundreds or even thousands of computers in a matter of hours, and locks down the entire entire system,” Foote explains.

That can also put more sensitive information about your employer, your co -workers, your customers in the wrong hands.

Here’s another reason: You risk your own privacy. Personal things like accessing your bank account, checking Gmail, or paying a bill on a work computer can be found in IT. And while far away, there is always the possibility of an IT insider rogue with that information.

“It’s not very common, but there are situations sometimes where we have what we call a rogue insider in an internal IT department, collecting private data of other team members. They may steal information. about bank accounts, or they can log into their personal Gmail account and implement phishing campaigns and things like that, ”Foote said.“ Those malicious insiders, or rogue insiders, are the real deal. “

Third reason: What you do online can come back to bother you or get you fired. Whether it’s Ted Lasso, writing the famous American novel while on the clock, or spending time scrolling through social media – IT sees it all. Foote says it’s not about paranoid employers or micromanaging.

“We’re always looking at what’s going on and how we can reduce the risk, right, because that’s our job is to mitigate that risk.”

Foote says using your personal network devices in your workplace is equally risky. You can view any website or use any app you want, which opens up the potential for data theft, malware and other security dreams for any IT department.

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