Enterprise networks across the U.S., U.K., and Germany have thousands of shadow personal devices such as laptops, mobile phones and Internet of Things devices connecting to their network, according to a new report from security company Infoblox.

For the report, Infoblox commissioned a survey of 1,000 IT directors across these countries and the UAE (300 each in the U.S., U.K., and Germany and 100 in the UAE) in March and April 2018. It also conducted a survey of 1,000 employees in the U.S. and U.K. (500 in each region) in March 2018.

More than one third of the organizations (35 percent) reported more than 5,000 personal devices connecting to their networks each day. Employees in the U.S. and U.K. admitted to connecting to the enterprise network for a number of reasons, including to access social media (39 percent), as well as to download apps, games and films (24 percent, 13 percent and 7 percent respectively).

Bloomberg/file photo

These practices open organizations up to social engineering hacks, phishing attacks and malware injection, the study said. One third of companies in the study have more than 1,000 shadow IoT devices connected to their networks on a typical day.

The most common devices found on enterprise networks included fitness trackers (49 percent), digital assistants (47 percent), smart TVs (46 percent), smart kitchen devices (33 percent) and games consoles (30 percent).

See Also Shining a light on shadow IT

Such devices are easily discoverable by cyber criminals online via search engines for Internet-connected devices, the report noted.

To manage the security threat posed by shadow personal devices and IoT devices in the network, 82 percent of organizations have introduced a security policy for connected devices. However, while 88 percent of the IT leaders that responded to the survey think their security policy is either effective or very effective, nearly one quarter of employees from the U.S. and U.K. surveyed (24 percent) did not know if their organization had a security policy.

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