Paedophiles are increasingly bringing unlawful images and videos into the workplace on mobile storage devices such as USBs and using corporate computers to distribute them online, a report has claimed.
The warning was given in a white paper entitled ‘Cleaning up Britain’, which was written by NetClean, a company that develops software to track, flag and block child sexual abuse images.
It attested that “many UK businesses are already unwittingly storing, and allowing the movement of, illegal child sexual abuse material across their networks”. This situation came about because personal work computers were often more private than home-based ones that were frequently shared with family members.
“We know from experience that paedophiles are obsessed with looking at child sexual abuse material. This is not a compulsion that ceases at the entrance to the workplace. It is a pattern of behaviour that will continue into working hours and is carried on by abusers who know how to hide their addiction and evade traditional security measures,” the report claimed.
After such material was brought into the workplace, it was then distributed “as surreptitiously as possible” by being posted on pop-up online forums and seeded via anonymous peer-to-peer file-sharing networks.
The NetClean report also cited the Internet Watch Foundation’s 2010 study, which indicated that free hosting or image-sharing services were most commonly used for distributing illegal images, but that 288 innocent web sites had also been hacked and employed by criminal gangs for such activity in recent times.
It likewise referred to the UK’s Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre, which said that the typical profile of a paedophile caught with child sexual abuse images was a male aged on average 38 years old. Some 66% had no previous criminal record and 44% were married.