For four consecutive years now, Verizon’s DBIR report has found that stolen or compromised credentials remain the top cause of all data breaches. Account compromise represents 61% of attacks in their 2021 study. Yet there’s a cause of data breaches that is even more shocking. That’s what Verizon researchers call the “human element”, the cause behind 85% of all breaches. The latest DBIR cites a 15X increase in social engineering exploits that seek to target end user account credentials.
That’s your workforce that attackers have firmly in their sites. They know – although you’ve hardened your network, websites, email, applications and endpoints – that your user base remains your greatest vulnerability, the last mile of your cyber defense. It’s time to focus on tightening workforce security, once and for all. User identity is the new perimeter.
Whether stolen by brute force or tricked out of user’s hands, account credentials are literally the keys to your kingdom. They play a huge role in bypassing MFA controls. They are often the first step in a malware attack. They have fueled the meteoric rise in ransomware attacks over the last year. While ransomware was only present as an action in 10% of breaches last year, that’s more than doubled since 2019.
The tactics that attackers use to trick your users are still working. That’s despite our best efforts at running security training and phishing simulations. Employees are still being duped by bad actors impersonating your executives. They are still enticed to click on that malicious link. They remain clueless to keylogging.
Your workforce reuses the same passwords across multiple business systems. They access corporate applications on unprotected personal devices. They stubbornly refuse to adopt MFA. The work-from-home trend has only exacerbated social engineering tactics, which succeed 85% of the time, resulting in the loss of account credentials. In fact, there’s a 100% likelihood that account compromise will succeed at some point, at the organizational level. Besides WFH employees, your workforce includes contractors, suppliers, partners and lots of other users with trusted access to your critical and sensitive data.
So how can you finally tackle the seemingly intractable problem of human error?
All User Accounts… and All Users… Are Not Created Equal
How can you know which end users are the largest security risks and which are not?
How can understanding of your riskiest users help in provisioning or revoking identity & access privileges?
Can you measure the level of human risk inherent in your remote WFH workforce?
The sum total of user actions, access levels, and security controls that put your organization at risk is called the human attack surface. Accurately measuring and analyzing the human attack surface at your organization is the only surefire way to mitigate the “human element” present in most data breaches. When it comes to proactively preventing account compromise – the first step in most types of hacks and attacks – your security team will understand which users are at greatest risk and most likely to mishandle their account credentials.
A new kind of cybersecurity called Human Attack Surface Management delivers both visibility and control over workforce security. It helps you to disrupt the likelihood of account compromise success at every step of the account compromise kill chain. Human Attack Surface Management keeps all necessary security controls up to date automatically, tailored to each individual user, and actively manages your account compromise posture over time.
Think of it as Zero Trust for your end users. Everyone receives the right level of protection commensurate with their risk. No more one-size-fits-all training or simulations. Each and every user receives just-right levels of protection and access via the ability to build granular and automated policies across a variety of cybersecurity tools you already have.
How to Prevent Account Compromise in Your Workforce
Elevate Security has recently published a series of short tutorials on how Human Attack Surface Management guards against account compromise attacks. Each of them reviews how it accomplishes this across five key functions:
- Employee Feedback & Executive Communication
- Control Orchestration
- Decision Support
- Continuous Improvement
Industries as diverse as Technology, Finance and Biotech are particularly at risk from account compromise. The tutorial series examines the threats specific to companies in these markets.
If you and your organization are particularly vulnerable to account compromise and remain concerned about how to harden your workforce to guard against these threats, discover the unique benefits of Human Attack Surface Management.
All of these tutorials are free to download with no registration required: