Majority of workers knowingly take cyber security shortcuts, finds survey

Published: Wednesday, 28 July 2021 08:14

Workers are engaging in risky behaviours which could put their company’s digital security at risk, despite knowing the dangers, a global survey of more than 8,000 employees has revealed.

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

The results make for concerning, if not surprising, reading – particularly when considered in the wider context of remote or hybrid working. The survey found that 79 percent of respondents have engaged in one least one risky activity over the past year. More than a third (35 percent) have saved passwords in their browser in the last year, a similar number (32 percent) have used one password to access multiple sites, and around one in four (23 percent) have connected a personal device to the corporate network.

Despite almost all respondents (98 percent) having an awareness that individual actions such as clicking on links from unknown sources or sharing credentials with colleagues is a risk, only 16 percent of respondents feel their organization is at a very high risk of a cyber security attack.

Joseph Carson, Chief Security Scientist and Advisory CISO at ThycoticCentrify, said: “People working in the cyber security 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 percent of respondents received cyber security training in the past year, meaning that more than half of the employees surveyed were left to cope alone with the threat landscape created by home working. Smaller organizations were the least likely to have given their staff cyber security training over the past year.

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

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