I am Cyber-Smart, I am Cyber-Smart, Cyber-S-M-R-T!


In the modern workplace, employees may often find themselves staying online all day to perform various tasks, including sending e-mails, researching and uploading critical documents. Considering the importance of internet connectivity, it is critical for organizations to ensure that their employees engage in secure online behaviors and have sufficient knowledge to prevent privacy or security incidents. However, according to a recent survey, 88 percent of employees “lack the basic awareness to stop preventable” incidents.

Privacy and security services provider MediaPro surveyed more than 1,000 people to gather “a baseline of security and privacy awareness across a slice of the general population.” MediaPro found that only 12 percent of respondents had sufficient “awareness IQ” to avoid security or privacy incidents, including stolen passwords, compromised accounts and phishing attacks. Twenty-five percent of respondents failed to recognize a phishing e-mail and 26 percent thought it was okay to use personal USB drive to transfer work documents to work remotely. 

Why do people engage in such risky behaviors when the cybersecurity threats are so abundant? According to the National Institute of Technology, reckless computing behaviors occur as users grow weary of dealing with computer security—what NIST called “security fatigue.” Additionally, it’s not as if people are unaware of security threats. 

According to a study by Symantec Corp., 76 percent of respondents said they know they should actively protect their information online, but still engaged in risky behaviors, including sharing passwords. Globally, 35 percent of people said they have at least one unprotected device, vulnerable to ransomware and phishing attacks, the report found. In October, hackers used “tens of millions” of unprotected connected devices to unleash a distributed denial-of-services attack that shut down internet access for millions of consumers. 

As the number of connected devices making up the internet of things increase at an impressive rate, hackers will have more things to hack, making it critical to properly secure connected devices. And it seems the Federal Trade Commission took notice of the problem as well. The FTC announced a contest to create a tool that will help proper consumers from IoT vulnerabilities. The best technical solution will be awarded $25,000 with up to $3,000 available for up to three honorable mentions.

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