A recent competition to find the most outlandish internet usage at work has discovered widespread employee internet abuse.

The contest sponsor, internet filtering and reporting security company 8e6 Technologies, said its findings highlighted need for heightened oversight, as illegal internet activity a growing concern for organisations.

The contest sought out stories about the most extreme employee abuse of the internet during work hours. Of the more than 500 respondents, the winning story went to a computer programmer who discovered one of the employees was using company bandwidth to run his own porn site from the office. Not only was the employee using corporate resources, but after hours he would sneak models into the office and have them pose on the office furniture, including his boss’s office.

“The increased incidence of employee internet abuse is continuing to cause widespread IT and legal hurdles for many organisations,” said Eric Lundbohm, vice president of marketing for 8e6. “Without a proper Acceptable Use Policy and effective monitoring tools in place, organisations will continue to see extensive abuse from some of their most trusted assets – their employees.”

Second prize went to a technology manager who discovered an employee who had downloaded a huge amount of prohibited content such as videos, MP3 files and movies to his workstation. He then set up an internal media server to the rest of the company in order to “save” bandwidth. When he was caught, he said, “I was just trying to help.”

Third prize was awarded to a network support manager who discovered a male employee who closed his door to run his personal online live sex show during work hours, putting the organisation at risk of sexual harassment claims. Other similarly brazen ventures can be found on the 8e6 website. www.8e6.com

Based on the responses from over 500 participants, music and movie downloads were a common problem for network security professionals, posing significant legal consequences for organisations.

Hosted websites within a company’s network and users setting up wireless access points were among the most common infringements of Internet Acceptable Usage Policies cited in the survey.

Not surprisingly, however, many of the respondents cited porn searches as one of the most frequent abuses.