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Study Shows Employees Are Ignoring Known Cyber Risks

By Vigilize | Friday, June 5, 2015 - One Comment

Even when they know better


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Blue Coat Systems, Inc. recently conducted a global study involving 1580 respondents from 11 different countries. The study focused on workers and their response to cyber risks while on the job. The alarming results of this study stem from the fact that most employees know what behavior is risky, but they’re doing it anyway.

  • 65% of respondents felt that using a new application without the IT department’s permission was “a serious cyber-security risk to the business.” 26% admitted to doing it anyway.
  • Out of U.S. businesses surveyed, 80% claimed that opening attachments from unverified senders was a real risk. 17% reported doing it though.
  • 41% of employees reported using social media for personal reasons at work.
  • 6% of all respondents admitted to viewing adult content on work devices. The percentages were higher within certain countries, like China at 19%.

“While the majority of employees are aware of cyber security risks, in practice most still take chances,” said Dr. Hugh Thompson, CTO for Blue Coat. “The consumerization of IT and social media carry mixed blessings to enterprises. It is no longer realistic to prevent employees from using them, so businesses need to find ways to support these technology choices while simultaneously mitigating the security risks.”

The fact that users are admitting to performing risky behavior on corporate networks, even though they know the behavior is risky, exposes a potential false sense of security. Educating your employees is simply not enough. Awareness training has to start with education, but then be followed by motivation and activation!

  • Education: Making people aware of the threats, vulnerabilities, and controls.
  • Motivation: Achieving a state where employees start learning on their own, not to mention following controls that they have been taught. Often this can be achieved by helping them understand why. However, this article exposes that this will not always be the case.
  • Activation: We can be educated, we can even be motivated, but are we “on guard?” The people who hire us to perform social engineering tests, and then fail those very tests themselves, prove that one who is educated and motivated can still make mistakes and end up falling prey to “e-mail hypnosis” or other forms of falling asleep at the CyberSecurity Wheel.

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One Response to “Study Shows Employees Are Ignoring Known Cyber Risks”

Comment from k
Time 06/08/2015 at 8:49 am

Sometimes I wonder how accurate these surveys are. I do not think it will accurately reflect how often IT falls prey to drive-bys or malicious email.
On the other side of the coin, I think if I was tired of surveys I might just respond in the worst way to some of the questions just for giggles. Oh yeah, on that Social site all the time, yep, looking at the forbidden provocative sites too! Is anyone really going to admit to that?
However accurate, surveys do provide opportunity to underscore the importance of awareness training. Education, Motivation and Activation – I like it!

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