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COVID-19 CYBER AND FRAUD PROTECT MESSAGES - The Human Firewall


This advice has been collated by EMSOU and is intended for wider distribution within the East Midlands Region to raise awareness among businesses and the public. Advice and information is changing daily as we navigate our way through the COVID- 19 pandemic, so please ensure you only take information from reputable sources. If you require any further information, assistance or guidance please contact the EMSOU Protect Team EMSOU Protect Team or your local Force protect team. Today’s topic is: The Human Firewall

It is quite common to read news about cyber-attacks causing huge data breaches, businesses suffering irreparable harm, and countries targeting each other in cyberspace. Such articles encourage us to imagine sophisticated hackers, employing state-of-the-art technologies. We also start to feel apathy set in - there’s nothing much we can do, right? Not so fast. If you study credible public reports and expert analysis on cybersecurity incidents, you’ll discover this startling fact: approximately seven out of ten security incidents occur due to human error and behaviour, not complicated technical attacks. Again, let that number sink in, seven out of ten! Even those attacks that are described as “sophisticated” end up having human mistakes, such as falling for phishing attacks, at their core. Cyber security, then, is fundamentally a human issue, not a technology issue. It requires a process of communication that is focused on connecting and resonating with humans. Why is this the case? As technology has evolved rapidly, cyber security tools such as firewalls, anti-malware software, email protection solutions, and a host of other things have also improved significantly. This means that it has become much harder for hackers to bypass protective security technologies. To counter this, hackers figured out that it was a lot easier, cheaper, and more worthwhile to target humans instead. They understood that instead of trying to spend time and money to hack people’s passwords, it was much easier to trick users into revealing them. Simple. So, how can we address this issue? Stay Positive. In the past, HMRC sent reminder letters to delinquent taxpayers stressing the importance of paying taxes on time. This clearly wasn’t helping much. To address this, they applied the approach of using positive peer pressure and social acceptance by adding a single line -”Nine out of ten people in the UK pay their tax on time.” That’s it. Just this simple addition contributed to increased tax compliance by 15%! (UK Government Cabinet Office 2012)</