The most common ways human factors weaken business cybersecurity

The most common ways human factors weaken business cybersecurity

Technology plays a significant role in safeguarding a business’s digital assets, but human factors can render such technology ineffective. Humans tend to be more unpredictable and inconsistent than tech processes, which makes them the most vulnerable link in the security chain.

Keep your data secure by addressing the following human-related concerns that can compromise the cybersecurity of your New Jersey business:

Lack of awareness and education

Many users are unaware of the potential risks they face online and the best practices for protecting themselves against these threats. As a result, they fall victim to phishing attacks, unknowingly download malware, or disclose sensitive information to unauthorized entities.

It’s therefore crucial to educate your employees about the cyberthreats that can befall your company and how to identify and mitigate them. By conducting regular cybersecurity awareness training or simulations, for instance, you can equip your workforce with the skills to detect, report, and handle common cyberthreats. This allows your employees to be proactive defenders of data security instead of being a cybersecurity liability.

Negligence and carelessness

Employees’ negligent behavior, such as leaving unattended devices unlocked or clicking suspicious links, can expose your business to cybersecurity risks. This is why it’s important for every member of your organization to develop good cybersecurity habits, such as:

  • Avoiding using public Wi-Fi networks
  • Locking devices when not in use
  • Installing the latest software patches available
  • Dismissing unknown emails, links, and pop-ups
  • Enabling multifactor authentication

These simple steps can go a long way in preventing cyberattacks.

Weak passwords and password reuse

Using weak or recycled passwords is a grave mistake that leaves your systems vulnerable to cybercriminals. Commonly used passwords or easily guessable ones, such as “123456” or “password,” can be cracked effortlessly using brute force attacks. On the other hand, accounts that share a password can be hacked through credential stuffing.

Require your employees to create strong, unique passwords for their work and personal accounts. A good rule of thumb is that passwords must be long (have a minimum of 12 characters) and strike a balance between complex (difficult to crack) and memorable (easy to remember). Implementing a password manager can also simplify the process of managing multiple complex passwords securely.

Social engineering attacks

Sometimes, even your best employees fall prey to cybercrime not because they are unaware of social engineering attacks but because they encountered one that’s too sophisticated and believable. In these kinds of attacks, cybercriminals rely on human error and use deceptive tactics, such as impersonating trusted entities or creating fake websites, to get users to reveal login credentials, financial details, or other sensitive information.

It’s not enough that your employees are vigilant and skeptical of unsolicited emails, messages, or phone calls; they should also always exercise scrutiny with every correspondence they receive. For instance, if they receive a request for a fund transfer via email, they should verify the authenticity of the source and avoid clicking on any links or attachments in the message.

Insider threats

Insider threats can be employees who maliciously or inadvertently harm your business or disclose sensitive information. Both can cause significant damage to your organization's cybersecurity.

Prevent insider threats from jeopardizing your cyber defenses by implementing proper access controls, establishing strong user authentication, and monitoring systems 24/7. These prevent employees from accessing resources and data outside of their job description, as well as make it easier for IT admins to check for unusual activities, such as repeated unsuccessful logins.

Oversharing on social media

While social media platforms provide an avenue for self-expression and connection, your employees may share work-related information on these channels that can expose your organization to cybersecurity risks. For instance, they may post a picture of their workstation with their login credentials visible. Cybercriminals can then exploit this information to infiltrate your systems or launch sophisticated attacks.

One way to protect your business against the sharing of sensitive information on social media is to explain acceptable social media use in your employee handbook. By clarifying what employees can and can’t post on social media regarding work, as well as the consequences of breaking these rules, your employees will think twice about what content they will post on their feeds.

Ready to strengthen your cybersecurity defenses and minimize human factor risks? Partner with Online Computers. Our team of experienced professionals understands the intricacies of human-related vulnerabilities and will help you implement robust measures to protect your data. Contact us today.

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