Deloitte tackles illicit images on corporate PCs


17 Jan 2006

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Deloitte has joined forces with an Irish technology firm to deploy a new illicit image audit service that will use special technology to detect, manage and remove illicit images across corporate IT resources ranging from PCs to notebooks, servers and storage devices.

Deloitte has teamed up with Dublin-based PixAlert, whose scanning technology and audit software protects both businesses and consumers from exposure to illicit image material.

The new service will help Irish organisations to protect employees from exposure to the increasing spread of illicit images in the workplace.

It will also help organisations to enforce computer use policies and comply with growing legislation that puts Irish companies and their directors at risk from criminal or civil prosecution if they do not take steps to manage these illegal or inappropriate images.

A recent survey, entitled Use of Information and Communications Technology in the Workplace, published by IBEC in September found that almost 60pc of companies reported cases of computer misuse. Of these cases, the main types of misuse were inappropriate emails — both internal and external — and illicit images. More than 40pc of companies have needed to take action against employees and in many cases this led to dismissals — related mainly to illicit image usage.

“Deloitte is taking a lead in better protecting its clients from new and emerging image liability threats and helping them to report on behaviour and system weaknesses more efficiently,” said John Nolan, CEO at PixAlert. “PixAlert Auditor drastically reduces the time required to rapidly and securely audit for inappropriate and illegal images across organisations, automatically generating the required case files, audit trails and comprehensive management reports.”

PixAlert uses powerful, high-speed image analysis software to scan more than 80 image and file formats from JPEG, GIF and BMP to Word, PowerPoint, email (PST) and ZIP files. Suspect images that transgress a pre-defined threshold are automatically presented to an administrator along with the machine and user name, date, time and program.

“Companies need to protect their brand, reputation and business interests and have a moral and legal requirement to provide a working environment that is safe from physical and psychological harm,” said Gerry Fitzpatrick, partner at Deloitte.

“Yet few organisations are equipped to prevent the growing and pervasive threat of illegal or inappropriate digital images,” Fitzpatrick added. “We believe that existing control systems cannot cover the breadth of this threat and are also not routinely tested or included in most IT audits.”

By John Kennedy