The male of the species is more deadly than the female

Male workers are irresponsible spreaders of spyware and viruses, a new report claims.

Men are twice as likely to swap music files and use USB devices than their female counterparts, and security firm Surfcontrol claims this makes them the primary transmitter of internet evils.

"In some instances differences between men and women's PC usage patterns seem very small but in other cases there is a significant distinction," said Steve Purdham, CEO at Surfcontrol. "They are three times more likely to download free software everyday in the office and this could well be exposing their employers to malicious threats unless measures are taken to better manage user abuse more effectively."

The survey of 300 men and women also revealed that men are playing online games, using removable media devices and downloading music files activities that directly lead to spyware infection.

"It seems at odds with most company's security policies that this activity should be going on," said Purdham. "The real issue here isn't whether men or women are bringing malicious threats onto the network, it's about raising awareness across the board to mitigate the threat posed to all parties and galvanise employers' resolve to deal with the issue."

Earlier this year SC reported Intermix Media has settled with the New York Attorney General following allegations the company secretly installed spyware. Under the terms of the proposed settlement, the company would pay $7.5 million over three years to New York state, and would permanently discontinue distribution of its adware, redirect and toolbar programs.

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