Can you imagine working at a company that is one of the leading internet-based businesses, and work for it without actual internet access? Actually, there's no need to imagine that because that's what a select number of employees at Google will be doing starting today.
CNBC reports that Google is starting a pilot program where a number of its workers will do their jobs but won't have direct access to the outside internet on the work desktop PCs. The story states:
The company will disable internet access on the select desktops, with the exception of internal web-based tools and Google-owned websites like Google Drive and Gmail. Some workers who need the internet to do their job will get exceptions, the company stated in materials.
In addition, the story reports some employees will be prohibited from doing higher-level tasks on their desktop PCs like installing their own software or running admin commands.
The story says Google originally picked about 2,500 of its employees to participate in this program, but it later allowed those people to have the choice to opt out of the pilot program. It also asked for volunteers to join this group.
So what's the reason for an internet company to keep its workers from accessing the internet? As you may have guessed, it's reportedly part of an effort at Google to improve its security and prevent the company from experiencing cyberattacks.
In a statement, a Google spokesperson did not openly confirm this new program. It did state:
Ensuring the safety of our products and users is one of our top priorities. We routinely explore ways to strengthen our internal systems against malicious attacks.
There have been some highly publicized cyberattacks over the past few weeks. They include a group that found a flaw in the MOVEit file transfer software that has led to attacks globally, including in several US government agencies. More recently, Microsoft confirmed that a China-based hacker group got access to Outlook.com government emails accounts via an inactive MSA consumer signing key.