The human element plays a significant role in terms of cybersecurity. It is usually divided into two cybersecurity groups, the “Bad Actor” and the “Good Actor”. The “bad actors” are cyber criminals and hackers that deliberately compromise organizations with malicious software to gain a profit. “Good actors” are the executives who promote security plans and programs to defend organizations against attacks.
According to a 2022 Verizon data breach investigation report, 85% of cybersecurity breaches involved the human element. Unfortunately, this confirms that good actors are still the weakest part of most organizations’ cybersecurity defense strategy. Innocence doesn’t exempt you from responsibility. Unfortunately, good actors are still making mistakes that enable bad actors to succeed.
The Good Actors Cyber Security Mistakes
Good actors usually fall victim to social engineering attacks like phishing. Phishing consists of receiving legitimate-looking emails from known enterprises. This email asks the recipient to perform a specific action like accessing credentials or redeeming a coupon code. By clicking the link, good actors are unsuspectingly downloading malware.
Another mistake made by good actors is modifying permissions on a network to allow easy access for other people. They believe that they are trying to help a fellow co-worker, but changes in security settings can accelerate a bad actor’s work.
Data mishandling is a common mistake among good actors. Saving information on the hard drive instead of the network cloud may seem like a small mistake, but in reality, the desktop does not have the same security measures as that the cloud server does. By doing this, good actors are making bad actors’ jobs easier.
What happens when a corporate email is unavailable? Good actors usually share business information through their personal email accounts. Personal email accounts are not as protected as professional accounts. Thus, sharing personal information through email leaves an open vulnerability for hackers to take advantage of.
IT Teams Can’t Escape Human Element Mistakes
IT Teams professionals that are tasked with deploying new hardware, systems, and applications, can easily forget to configure important cybersecurity settings. The technology can still work, but it is not properly protected.
Neglecting system maintenance is another mistake made by IT professionals. Not patching or updating software applications is a colossal cybersecurity error that leaves the whole IT infrastructure vulnerable to attack.
Don’t forget that software is created by humans that fit into the category of “Good Actors”. Most of the time the development of new software tends to be rushed, resulting in software with security flaws.
The Reality of the Human Element
Good actors that make mistakes are contributing to the failure of their cybersecurity measures. But how can we reduce the number of mistakes that us humans make? How can we confidently respond to cybersecurity incidents that arise due to our own error?
The Key to Reducing Human Element Mistakes
Create effective cyber security policies:
Good policies will provide a set of rules and guidelines that people are required to follow to maintain high-security standards. For example, in an office environment, there is a dress code that people must abide by. Employees know what they can and cannot wear for proper dress attire. Cybersecurity policies will provide the same direction in terms of safe security practices.
Mandate cybersecurity awareness training:
Educate people on how to deal with and respond to common social engineering attacks. Just as people know how to detect any dangerous situation, employees need to be taught how to detect the signs of malicious software in their inboxes.
Develop good emergency response plans:
Good cybersecurity policies and awareness training will reduce the possibility of human error but not eliminate it entirely. A good emergency response plan will provide the specific procedures that need to be followed to successfully recover from a cyberattack.
Wrapping it Up
To provide structure for people, we must prepare them to deal with failure. This is the correct way to address human errors associated with cybersecurity.