Staff Aid Cyber Criminals

There is much evidence pointing to the role of staff in successful cyber attacks. Discounting purposeful participation of staff members, the majority of cases involves simple carelessness and lack of knowledge about security protocols. With more focus placed on the real threat of cyber crime, security experts hope to persuade companies to place more importance on internet security training for their employees in addition to internet security upgrades.

Staff Are the Weakest Link

Companies are in reality battling cyber attacks on a daily basis. Hackers, like any other type of thieves, spend a fair amount of time scoping out their targets. They observe the networks and traffic, looking for weaknesses to exploit. Like other thieves, they know that it is not only the structural weaknesses that can be exploited. Behavioral inconsistencies or flaws often give them the chance they need. This is precisely what security experts have discovered after analyzing security breaches. The biggest weakness that companies facenow is linked to human error.

Security experts are not making light of vulnerabilities security framework. The point they make is that security software and network upgrades will not work to protect against attacks if there remains a weak link in their staff. These experts have identified areas in staff protocols that need improvement. These best security practices also include some tips to share with customers for a well-rounded defense against cyber intrusions.

Staff Security Protocols

Some of the simpler practices involve using more secure passwords and taking extra care not to share any unnecessary information with anyone. Experts discovered that many employees still use common passwords and combinations that are easily guessed. These include typical pass phrases like dates of birth, names of pets and loved ones, and consecutive number strings. These passwords are easy for employees to remember, and they do not know that hackers have the ability to figure them out. Many employees also share security access codes with unauthorized colleagues. Uncontrolled sharing of passwords increases the risk of leaks. It also defeats the purpose of limiting access. Limited access to secure files allows network monitors to detect unusual activity that could be an early sign of a security breach.

Social engineering comes into play also, and part of the security training aims to educate employees in these methods. Hacker research includes gaining personal knowledge of employees that they use for guessing passwords. The other side of this is information leaks. Employees inadvertently share information because they are not aware of how this can lead to a breach. The risk is greater for employees who have contact with prospective and existing clients. Hackers are known to be efficient posers, and they obtain a lot of information by pretending to be interested clients.

The BYOD Threat

BYOD policies is an area that requires more attention and a small investment.Many employees are allowed, or worse encouraged, to bring their personal devices into the workplace. When personal devices are permitted to connect to the office network and are used for work, they become a weakness. Personal devices may be infected with malware that give hackers access to device controls. Once connected to the office network through the recognized device, the hackers get easy access to secure files. BYOD policies were first introduced as a way to reduce costs and make employees more comfortable. But personal devices are in fact a liability. It is one thing for companies to control Internet behavior in the office, and quite another to impose restrictions on how they surf on their own time.

The types of malware that are being developed for use in attacks is much more sophisticated than before. These viruses are built to evade detection and leave little trace as they execute multiple functions. A simple virus scan will do nothing to determine the security of personal devices brought into the network.

One solution to the BYOD threat is to prohibit the use of personal devices at work. This is difficult to enforce, however. It would also require a large investment and generate logistics issues. An alternative solution that covers all the bases is to secure personal devices as part of the larger security systems upgrade. Personal VPN services are the recommended method to secure against malware infection and prevent access through infected devices. It is a much smaller investment with no required changes in BYOD policies other than the continued use of the VPN app.

Through training staff in simple internet security policies and securing devices used on the office network, security experts believe they can effectively reduce the cyber theft risk without requiring a huge expense that most small to medium sized businesses cannot afford. It is the best solution to the current situation that can be immediately implemented to block hacker attacks.

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