Stress a Major Factor in Pandemic Cybercrime Growth

Increased cybersecurity risk caused by human error has posed challenges to 80% of businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a new report Cyberchology: The Human Element, created by a partnership between ESET and The Myers-Briggs Company.

Of the CISOs surveyed in the study, 63% said they had experienced an increase in cybercrime since the start of the lockdown. This comes as three-quarters (75%) of companies revealed that half of their business is being conducted by staff operating remotely who were not doing so prior to COVID-19.

In the survey of 2000 consumers and more than 100 CISOs, it was also found that more than two-thirds of consumers had concerns about their cybersecurity but didn’t know what to do about it, while nearly half (47%) were worried about their ability to manage stress during the pandemic.

The researchers said that organizations should take individual profiles into account when developing their cybersecurity strategy, as certain personality types may be more likely to click on a malicious link or fail to report a security breach to the IT team when experiencing heightened levels of stress.

Jake Moore, cybersecurity specialist at ESET, stated: “Remote working has brought greater flexibility to the workforce, but has also dramatically altered business processes and systems. The combination of fractured IT systems, a lack of central security, the sudden shift to home working and a global climate of stress and concern is a perfect breeding ground for a successful cyber-attack. The fact that only a quarter of businesses have faith in their own remote working strategy is shocking, and shows there is much work to be done to secure working from home.” 

John Hackston, head of thought leadership at The Myers-Briggs Company, added: “Cybersecurity has long been thought of as the responsibility of IT departments alone, but in order to build a holistic cybersecurity strategy that accounts for the human factor, IT and HR departments must work together. Through the use of psychometric testing and self-awareness tools, HR can help to identify the makeup of teams and pinpoint potential vulnerabilities. IT teams can use this insight to create comprehensive security protocols and a proactive cyber-strategy to stay one step ahead of potential threats.”

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