Every day we hear statistics about how cybercrime is increasing and how it’s a massive threat, however, our attitude towards this threat is often quite cavalier.
Making systems safer is of course important, but many cybercrimes often come about because people don’t follow simple rules. In many ways, we’re just not used to this sort of threat and are, and want to be, trusting. This sometimes leads to us being caught off guard.
Just as our senses have developed over the years so that we can sense when something’s not quite right, perhaps we need to develop those senses more when we use the internet.
To do this requires a change of attitude
You can up-skill, supply information/knowledge, but changing the ‘way things are done ‘round here’, is much harder. For example, most people agree that driving and texting is dangerous – but many still do it.
We believe that if you want to change an attitude, like being more cautious when using the internet and handling information, then there needs to be a multi-pronged approach. For example:
1) There’s a certain amount of knowledge and awareness which is needed, e.g. you need to know that there’s a risk in the first place and what the risk is.
2) Skills like spotting phishing emails and scams need to be developed.
3) An attitude shift to ‘this is important and we need to take more care’ needs to be encouraged.
One way to do this is to make information/cyber security embedded in the culture of the organisation. For example, it could easily become part of a work review – Where are you most exposed? What threats could you face? How would you deal with it? Are there any areas you need to develop? and so on.
This kind of attitude change is not something you can turn on and off. For example, if you believe you should use strong passwords at home, you’re also going to use them at work and vice-versa.
That’s part of the reason we use examples from both work and personal lives in our videos. Perhaps knowing a bit about how social media is used by criminals to commit cybercrime will also be useful at home. Even if it’s only having an awareness that this is an area which is exploited by criminals and then passing this on to teenagers, elderly parents, spouses and friends…
A ‘little and often’ approach also helps in attitude change as, although it should be something we can just change, for most of us it isn’t. We quickly slip back into bad habits. It’s a bit like giving up smoking. People who give up often lapse, but the more times they try, the more likely they are to succeed.
Changing attitudes towards the way we do things is extremely difficult and often swept under the carpet in favour of more measurable areas such as knowledge and skills. It is however, in our view, essential.
Below is our latest video on Fraud and Social Engineering. One reason fraud is so prevalent is that we are regularly taken in or fooled by the fraudsters. Addressing this is not going to be a quick fix, and we don’t think this video is going to solve the problem, but hope that it could be part of a solution.