Regardless of the security expertise and resources you apply to securing your assets, you are unlikely to achieve much unless you focus on the most vulnerable element of your organization: your employees.
"Computers have become much more secure over the past 15 years, but humans have not," says Lance Spitzner, training director for the Securing the Human program at SANS Institute
, a cooperative research and education organization focused on security certification. "The human really has become the weakest link."
When It Comes to Security, Humans Are Low-Hanging Fruit
Because the technology itself is no longer necessarily the low-hanging fruit, malicious hackers are finding easier ways to penetrate organizations, like social engineering or preying upon employees with poor password discipline. Employees commonly simply don't know how to write strong passwords, how to comply with data protection policies or share data securely, Spitzner says.
"We define social engineering as understanding what makes a person think, tick, and react and then using those emotional responses to manipulate a person into taking an action that you want them to take," says Chris Hadnagy, a co-founder of security education organization Social-Engineer.org
and operations manager at security training and tools firm Offensive Security
. Hadnagy is also the author of the book, Social Engineering: The Art of Human Hacking.