Security for Human-Based Behavior: Dealing with the biggest risk to cyber security

Security for Human-Based Behavior: Dealing with the biggest risk to cyber security

Security for Human-Based Behavior: Dealing with the biggest risk to cyber security

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Human behavior can be one of the greatest risks to cybersecurity. It is one of the weakest links in cybersecurity. No matter how strong the security policies, human error can still expose it to vulnerabilities, risks, breaches or even attacks. Moreover, individuals or employees may be aware of these security policies and might not act accordingly. Hence, the need for the security of human-based behavior practices.

Human behavior is actions carried out by individuals, though, varies from persons to persons and cannot be predicted based on specific patterns. The behavior of human can cause great security threats and defeats. Security for Human-Based Behavior is a proactive approach that ensures that all security activities are monitored to identify threats, vulnerabilities and behavioral patterns that are deviation from the normal pattern and easily addressed. The identification and understanding of typical human behavior is essential to addressing anomalies, protecting and preventing of cybercrimes/attacks. The behavior-based practice compares action of files to a list of suspicious and acceptable behaviours in order to influence safer individuals or employees safer actions that prevent threats and deter attacks activities.

Benefits of Human- Behavior based security

  • This practice ensures that there is a proper monitoring of deviation from the norms with the intelligence to decide if the anomaly will bring attacks or threats.
  • The program is equipped with a standard set of policies that identify the specific behaviors allowed and the list of actions that will be considered suspicious.
  • This security solution provides end-users the option to decide or choose the data and files to be protected and the ones to be omitted. In other ways, to avoid internal and external attacks, all files are monitored and secured.
  • The security for human-based behavior focuses on how new risks and vulnerabilities can be detected, how human perceive them, how perceptions can be misrepresented and how the risks/threats can lead top over/under reaction, how business models can be influenced and innovated in order to apply human centered solutions to problems anticipated or encountered with effective communication strategies.
  • This security practice demonstrates how efficient and effective communication can build safe and secured human-cyber space in the new digitally driven era.

Identifying and Understanding Human-Based Behavior

Cybercriminals/ hackers always search out the easiest route into networks through individuals and/or employees. Cybersecurity is threatened by issues that can result directly/ indirectly from thoughts, behaviors and actions. Risky human-based behaviors that lead to attacks as a result of poor practices include;

  • Sharing of passwords with friends and family as well as using the same password for multiple websites.
  • Using free-to-access public WI-FI or creating uncomplicated passwords to access websites.
  • Using online storage systems to exchange and keep personal/sensitive information such as payment information etc that doesn’t have clear security certification.
  • Downloading free anti-virus software packages or cracks from unknown sources and disabling anti-virus to download information from unsecured websites.
  • Relying on friends’ advice on aspects of online security or clicking o links contained in unsolicited emails from colleagues or friends.
  • Storing organization/company information on personal electronic devices such as smartphones, tablets, and laptops without adequate security measures.
  • Sharing location and accepting friend requests from unknown persons on social media.
  • Downloading digital media such as movies, music, games from unlicensed sources.

All the above mentioned and more brings to the fore the need to identify and understand individual/employees create risks and how to prevent them from being used by the hackers. Most cyber attacks involve spear-phishing emails or emails personalized to the receiver.

How to address human-based behavior using security

Establishing Behavioral baselines and implement the right security initiatives

Security experts or organizations should embark on awareness programs that access current status and establishing a baseline. This will enable the identification of strong and weak spots to ensure that the program is efficient and effective. Adequate insights into human-based behavior and security issues, profile the risk of individuals/ employee roles and what is done to influence the change will ensure the deployment of the right security measures to prevent cyber attacks. Other aspects such as emotional engagements, gamification, contents and other stimulation exercises can be employed to engage individuals/employees to recognize potential threats.

The baseline drawn and the right action taken should take into consideration the culture and psychology of people. Communication tactics should be tailored to the particular audience and encourage the reports of accidents, threats in order to discourage the act of negligence.

Better Security structures

There should be proper monitoring tools and multi-factor security built with risk engines to spot anomalies in behaviors such as login attempts, applications access to ensure adequate protection and prevention of attacks.

Security Education and training

Proper training and adequate education of individuals and employees is a great defensive mechanism. It will enlighten people not to send data to the wrong recipient, loose paperwork or insecure disposal, verbal disclosure of unsecured data, unencrypted device misplacement, not setting basic passwords or opening curious email attachment and so on. This includes campaigns, cyber security manuals and materials, interactive training as well as engage with IT security teams who have adequate experience in behavioral sciences. The built up of strong security culture and network to enable employees/individual to recognize cyber threats, report them, and even be rewarded for their efforts.

Security of human-based behavior by design

This is an approach and practice of developing systems, processes, applications and physical environments to guide and bring about positive behaviors, for examples, reporting phishing emails using a button and so on. This helps to have a deeper understanding of the types of risks that can be encountered or experienced and influence positive security behavior. Users should have complex passwords, install software updates and comply with security policies and measures.

Security Policies

Good security policies and compliance helps to protect the cyberspace, computer and computer networks. Lack of compliance with security policies can put data/ information at risk, for instance, users often ignore security warnings or danger signals.

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