A 200 per cent increase in the number of roaming and home workers is a result of the growing threat of swine flu.

A report in the Financial Times recently claimed that almost one in eight workers are likely to be forced to stay at home with swine flu. Nine per cent of the workforce is expected to be sick by the end of August when the peak of the first wave of the swine flu pandemic in the UK is expected.

According to Spencer Parker, director of product management at ScanSafe, there has been a significant global upturn in the number of roaming and home workers over the last eight weeks, especially in the UK and US.

Parker said: “Many companies are beginning to implement a disaster recovery plan as swine flu continues its march across the globe. Part of this plan is preparing for the obvious increase in the number of employees that will be working from home. In normal times around five per cent of the internet traffic that we secure comes from mobile or home workers, this is now up to 15 per cent.”

Parker also predicted that it will not be long before sophisticated cybercriminals turn their attention to infecting websites designed to inform and advise the public on swine flu, due the huge increase in traffic they are receiving.

According to previous ScanSafe research, roaming workers are 8.5 times more likely to visit illegal file sharing sites than their colleagues in the office and 2.5 times mores likely to visit pornography sites, putting employers at risk of legal liability and exposure to malware.