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Human Error’s Role in Cybersecurity
If you’re more worried about the outside intruder you don’t know than the employee in the cubicle across from your office, you may want to reconsider your company’s approach to cybersecurity.
Believe it or not: C-suite executives and policy makers rank “human error” as the number one cybersecurity risk their organizations are currently facing, according to Oracle’s spring 2019 report on security in the age of AI.
Actors with access to your organization’s network — insiders — are typically the ones inadvertently introducing this risk to your systems.
There are several actions businesses can take to reduce human error and other insider threats from impacting their networks.
Invest in your people — in a variety of ways
The majority of insider threats are due to negligence or downright carelessness.
Sixty-four percent of insider threats are caused by users who introduce risk due to careless behavior or human error, according to an insider threat intelligence report from Dtex Systems.
Instead of allocating funds for technology — such as new types of software, infrastructure AI and machine learning (ML) — invest in your team.
In fact, if you do, you won’t be the only one who does.
In the next two years, organizations plan to invest more in people by training existing staff and hiring new team members, according to Oracle’s survey.
Waiting isn’t option — and businesses are reacting to an ever-evolving threat landscape, especially when it comes to insider threats.
Acknowledge insider attacks are a threat to your businesses — no matter your size
Despite common belief, insider threats — malicious threats from within an organization — are a concern to many businesses and security professionals.
For example, take the former. Ninety percent of organizations feel vulnerable to insider threats, which is why many of these businesses have taken action already to mitigate potential threats against their networks, according to a 2018 insider threats report conducted by Crowd Research Partners.
Eight-six percent of these organizations already have or are building insider threat programs, the research revealed. (Specifically, 50 percent of the survey’s respondents are developing their own programs to respond to these increasing threats.)
For many security professionals, insider threats within an organization aren’t easy to detect, for anyone who has or had authorized access to your network is a potential threat.
Think about it like this: One of the largest enablers to insider threats is there are simply too many users with excessive access privileges, the study showed. This is what makes these attacks so threatening to networks and challenging to cybersecurity professionals.
Regarding types of accidental insider threats, 63 percent of cybersecurity experts view phishing attacks — which typically contain malware attachments or hyperlinks to compromised websites — as the biggest vulnerability, the report showed.
What many organizations don’t realize is not all insiders are equal — some are actually outsiders.
Monitor who has authorized access to network
Not everybody who has access to your network is sitting in the same office as you.
While regular employees are the biggest insider threat type to your organization (56 percent), privileged IT users/admins are a close second (55 percent) and outside contractors round out the top three (42 percent), according to respondents in the study conducted by Crowd Research Partners.
To reduce risks from vendors and third parties, take inventory of anybody with authorized access to your network — no matter how close they are to you. Ensure everybody on your list is only given access to what they need; don’t add any users with excessive access privileges to your network. Reduce the list of names as much as you can. While this won’t fully protect you, it’s a good start.
Insiders can do as much damage as outsiders, especially when they’re careless. Even though it’s near impossible to prevent any human error, you can still mitigate much of it with the right cyber security strategy in place.
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