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How CISOs can manage the cybersecurity of high-level executives | #hacking | #cybersecurity | #infosec | #comptia | #pentest | #ransomware


High-level executives, including board members and C-level executives, often have access to sensitive information, making them prime targets for bad actors looking to penetrate corporate defenses. Their personal devices, among other points of entry, are glaring attack vectors for cybercriminals looking to get in on the top floor.

As CISOs know, cyber incidents all too often include the human element—and executives are all too human. According to the Verizon 2022 Data Breach Investigations Report, 82% of breaches involved a human element, the bulk of them involving phishing, business email compromise (BEC), and stolen credentials.

Home is the new attack surface

Driven by numerous factors, a new class of risk is emerging that targets the highest ranks of an organization through deeply personal avenues. The message to CISOs is that an executive’s digital life could be the company’s weakest link, and not just their corporate devices and accounts: home servers, home security equipment, family devices, and even social media interactions can present vulnerabilities and pose workplace security risks. “It means home is the new attack surface,” says Chris Pierson, CEO at BlackCloak.

It’s a no-brainer to ensure that internal systems and people are in place to protect an organization, but it’s much harder to manage risks from outside that can’t easily be controlled. The digital lives of the leadership team, Pierson says, could be something of a ticking time bomb.

In Pierson’s experience with onboarding executives, a significant proportion (39%) have an aspect of their personal digital life that’s been compromised. When personal and corporate lives connect, this can spell trouble for CISOs who find themselves fighting fires in an environment they don’t control.

The risk faced by executives has grown rapidly as the pandemic-driven rise of hybrid work increased the blurring of professional and personal digital lives. Complex geopolitical tensions, opportunities for digital activism against corporates—particularly in industries with higher risk profiles—and the prospect of financial gain from targeting wealthy leaders have all raised the stakes on the personal digital lives of executives.

Copyright © 2023 IDG Communications, Inc.

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