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CMI Blog

How To Arm Yourself Against "Human Hacking"



With our numerous technological advancements – AI in the home, always-on devices in our pockets, the cloud storing data in perpetuity – we are facing more challenges than ever before when it comes to cyber-security.

Individuals constantly try to protect themselves and their information from possible hacking, but in response, hackers have become more sophisticated. Passwords are being breached, identities stolen and businesses are falling victim to massive leaks, no matter their size. How does this happen? It’s not just a hacker’s algorithm that poses a threat to your data.

Why hack the technology when you can hack the human? If you know someone’s password or PIN number, you can bypass the common security methods technology provides. Hackers now socially engineer situations to facilitate data breaches, also known as "Human Hacking".

Here are some top tips to help you make smarter security decisions every day, and arm against “human hacking” in your work environment:

Train your staff about security

Have you ever heard the phrase “it was an inside job”, when it comes to a major crime? For some major breaches, where internal emails make their way to the public domain, experts have conceded that the level of access must have started with a human breach. Speaking about or writing down your password in the office is just as risky as posting it on a blog. Hackers will socially engineer situations, both online and offline, to get your staff to compromise their details, and one way to combat against this is to make sure your staff are fully trained about these risks.

Consider working towards ISO certification for your business. Even a simple personal security course for the individuals at your business can help them understand security best practice at a micro as well as a macro scale. Security awareness brings about behavioral change, reduces employee vulnerability, and protects against employee exploitation.

Autolock your computer when you step away

Leaving your computer unlocked is a lot like leaving your car running with the doors unlocked. Anyone could sit at your computer and gain access to your private information. Of course, most employees aren’t would-be data thieves, but if you have an opportunist in your midst (say someone who wants to sell data, or leave the company and start their own rival business), leaving a computer unlocked could allow him or her to access everything from financial information, customer data, intellectual property, passwords or worse.  Most computers have an autolock functionality. Make sure you use it ... and on a short autolock time.

Arm against visual hacking

It might seem to be common sense, but try to avoid printing and leaving sensitive documents out in plain view. Visual hacking comes in different forms. While the majority of visual hacks involve documents visible on employees’ desks, a white hat hacker in a 2015 global visual hacking experiment found that computer screens in an office environment were considerable liabilities. In this experiment, 52% of sensitive information was captured by observing unprotected employee computer screens. When you’re working on sensitive information, a privacy filter – a piece of film that ensures only the person using the computer can see the work onscreen – is not only effective, simple and affordable, it also reduces glare on your monitor, which is an added bonus.

Use different passwords for your devices.

It's not enough to simply protect all your devices with one password. Your smartphones and computers are vulnerable to attempts by human hackers who will stop at nothing to get what they want. Do not use the same password for many devices – it puts you at risk because one breach could lead to many. Utilise two-factor authentication wherever possible and if fingerprint scanning is possible on any of your devices, make sure to enable it – fingerprints are a part of being human that works to your security advantage.

If you want to learn more about Security Services, or require IT Support, contact us today.

About CMI

We take care of your IT, so you can focus on running your business. Whether you are looking for a comprehensive outsourced IT support service or something more flexible, CMI can help. As industry-leading specialists in network security, business continuity, hardware and software provision, cloud computing and Internet services, CMI has been helping businesses gain a competitive edge through technology for 25 years.  Call today on 020 8875 7676 to learn more and sign up for a free consultation.


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Topics: security, technology, business, data, sme, trends, cyber security

Richard Taberner

Written by Richard Taberner

Richard Taberner is Managing Director at BTA Ltd. With 30 years of experience advising and servicing businesses in London and beyond, Richard believes that outsourcing IT doesn't need to be expensive or painful. Whether a client wishes to manage costs or free internal resource through outsourcing, Richard strives to ensure a smooth and reliable service for every client at BTA.

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