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Majority of workers take cybersecurity shortcuts: Research

by CIO AXIS

Workers are engaging in risky behaviors which could put their company’s digital security at risk, despite knowing the dangers, according to a global survey of more than 8,000 employees including over 2,500 respondents in India, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Malaysia and Japan.

ThycoticCentrify commissioned the independent market research specialist Sapio Research to poll workers from around the world to discover if they are following good cybersecurity practices.

The results make for concerning reading – particularly when considered in the wider context of remote or hybrid working. The survey found that 79% of respondents have engaged in at least one risky activity over the past year (India 90%, Australia/NZ 83%, Singapore/Malaysia 81%, Japan 67%). This included:

• 35% who saved passwords in their browser in the last year
(India 39%, Australia/New Zealand 43%, Singapore/Malaysia 36%, Japan 28%)
• 32% who used one password to access multiple sites
(India 33%, Australia/New Zealand 42%, Singapore/Malaysia 37%, Japan 24%), and
• 23% who connected a personal device to the corporate network
(India 36%, Australia/New Zealand 25%, Singapore/Malaysia 29%, Japan 13%).

Despite almost all respondents (98%) having an awareness that individual actions such as clicking on links from unknown sources or sharing credentials with colleagues is a risk, only 16% of respondents feel their organization is at a very high risk of a cybersecurity attack (India 22%, Australia/New Zealand 15%, Singapore/Malaysia 23%, Japan 35%).

This feeling was contradicted by the 79% of respondents who saw an increase in the number of fraudulent and phishing messages in the last year (India 94%, Australia/New Zealand 75%, Singapore/Malaysia 89%, Japan 71%).

Joseph Carson, Chief Security Scientist and Advisory CISO at ThycoticCentrify, said: “People working in the cybersecurity sector know how their colleagues should behave when it comes to keeping their devices safe and protecting the wider company. But are these messages getting through?

“We’d urge employers to redouble efforts to encourage the best possible digital security practices in staff and remind them of the risks of failing to secure networks. A ransomware attack or major breach has major consequences which can last for years, so every organization needs to establish security processes and work to ensure they resonate with employees.”

Just 44% of respondents received cybersecurity training in the past year (India 64%, Australia/New Zealand 43%, Singapore/Malaysia 54%, Japan 37%). meaning that more than half of the employees surveyed were left to cope alone with the fearsome threat landscape created by home working. Smaller organizations were the least likely to have given their staff cybersecurity training over the past year.

“Remote or hybrid working also poses a particular challenge to security, so organizations should be sure to embed good practices in their staff no matter where they are working from,” Carson continued.

Staff are more likely to rate the cyber risk to their organization as high (55% compared to 43%) if they have been trained, indicating they have a better understanding of the risks.

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