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Hackers Agree: Humans Are the Most Responsible for Security Breaches


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We are armed with the most advanced anti-virus protection ever produced; we have access to more knowledge than we could possibly digest; and we have been warned about the risks of cybercrime more times than we can collectively count. Yet, we are at a greater risk of becoming victims of security breaches than ever before.

That’s because human beings are the weakest link.

Hackers say human beings are to blame for most security breaches

Each year, hackers of all types — black hats (the bad guys), white hats (the good guys), and grey hats (those somewhere in between) — descend upon Black Hat, one of the world’s largest computer security conferences. This year, Thycotic, a cybersecurity firm with offices in Washington, D.C., London, and Sydney, conducted a poll with over 250 hackers who attended the event.

Participants were asked to choose which is most responsible for security breaches: humans, not enough security software, unpatched software, or other. An astonishing 85 percent said that human beings were the most responsible. Unpatched software came in second, with 10 percent, while just 5 percent of respondents felt there isn’t enough security software on the market.

Why are human beings the weakest link in the fight against hackers?

Many cybersecurity analysts believe humans are the weakest link in combating cybercrime due to cyber fatigue — a condition where users fail to follow proper cybersecurity measures when conducting daily tasks.

Cyber fatigue stems from a variety of means, but, according to the same group of polled hackers, here are the most common reasons:

  • 15 percent believe the biggest source of cyber fatigue comes from users living with constant cybersecurity threats
  • 21 percent blamed never-ending software updates
  • 29 percent stated information overload is the leading cause
  • 35 percent feel remembering and changing passwords provide the greatest challenge

Staying safe in a new reality

The question then becomes, how do we stay safe in this world of ever-greater risk? The most important step we can take is to remain vigilant. It can become frustrating and even exhausting at times, but it’s imperative you always follow proper security protocols. This includes using multi-factor authentication whenever possible. In fact, the Black Hat attendees revealed that multi-factor authentication is the single biggest obstacle for hackers to overcome, while encryption came in a close second.

Of course, there is no magic bullet when it comes to protecting yourself from the risks posed by cybercriminals. The solution lies in a combination of best practices, ongoing education, and trusting your gut. To help you in your quest to protect your identity, privacy, and finances, we’ve put together the following resources:

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