Security News

Cybercrime's weakest link? Humans

Humans built and sailed the Titanic - the unsinkable ship - and, as long as humans inhabit the Earth, they (we) will err.

Despite the best cybercrime preventative measures, more often than not it is a human slip up that allows cyber criminals in through the back door (bathroom window, for Beatles fans).

This is why phishing accounts for 90% of data breaches. We receive an email, usually from a friend. It has a link. We instinctively click on it (we've done this a million times). All hell breaks loose.

Cyber criminals know how we think and use it to their advantage. Aided by the fact 97% of people are unable to identify sophisticated fraudulent emails, phishing is on the increase and attempts have grown 65% in the last year.

The average cost of a data breach globally is $3.86 million per company and many of those affected will pay for information retrieval. One study found that over 50% of companies that suffered a ransom attack paid it. With such an incentive, around 1.5 million phishing sites are created each month (often they are only live for several hours, so as to avoid security).

Phishing aside, one 2018 survey (Shred-It) found that over a quarter of employees leave their computer unlocked when they’re not there. Another study (PMG) found that 44% of millennials, 30% of GenXers and 16% of baby boomers had access to applications from at least one previous job. One grudge and a bit of cyber know-how could lead to all sorts of revenge tactics.

However, it's not all doom and gloom. Just as humans can assist the spread of cybercrime, they can also be the prevention. Education is the key.

Cyber security needs to be a priority in any organisation. A 2018 survey (Webroot) showed that, after 12 months of security awareness training, employees are 70% less likely to fall for a phishing attempt. It's a business practice with an outlay of $$$ in the short term but will lessen the chances of a cyber attack costing far more.

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