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Why Humans Are the Biggest Risk in Cybersecurity

Businesswoman looking at a computer screen.

Cyber threats are on the rise. Every year, we see a rise in the number and complexity of cyber threats. From malware and ransomware to Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks and phishing, the landscape of cybersecurity threats is vast and varied. Other common types of cyberattacks include Man-in-the-Middle (MitM) attacks, SQL injections, zero-day exploits, and DNS Tunneling.

But here's the twist. Do you know what the most significant risk factor in cybersecurity is? It's not sophisticated hacking techniques or advanced malicious software. It's us—humans.

The Human Risk Challenge

Statistics show that human error is one of the leading causes of cyber breaches. According to a report by the World Economic Forum, 95% of cybersecurity issues are due to human error.

Why is this so? Well, humans are fallible—we make mistakes. We can be tricked, manipulated, and even coerced into acting against our best interests or those of our organizations. This susceptibility makes us prime targets for cybercriminals who exploit human weaknesses to gain access to systems and data.

How big is the challenge of human cyber risk? Here are a few key statistics:


Common Human Causes of Cyber Breaches

Let's dive deeper into some examples of how human error can lead to cyber incidents:
  • Phishing Attacks: These occur when an unsuspecting employee clicks on a malicious link or attachment in an email, thinking it's legitimate. With 36% of data breaches involving phishing, your team have got to be constantly vigilant.
  • Weak Password Practices: Using weak or reused passwords can make it easy for hackers to gain access to accounts. Employee sharing of passwords or accounts can also create vulnerabilities.
  • Unintentional Insider Threats: We're not thinking about securing sensitive data at all times, and it's easy to make mistakes. A laptop left unattended or unlocked, confidential documents left at the printer, sensitive information in the back of a photo you post on social media. It's easy to accidentally share sensitive information that leads to a data breach.
  • Social Engineering: This involves manipulating people into giving up confidential information. It's one of the most effective ways for cybercriminals to get past security defences.

By understanding these common human errors, we can start to take steps towards mitigating them. The first step in reducing human cyber risk is raising awareness. Educate your team about the potential threats and how they can protect themselves.


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