How does employee behavior affect cybersecurity in the workplace? | #hacking | #cybersecurity | #infosec | #comptia | #pentest | #ransomware

Interestingly enough, all cybersecurity risks start and end with human beings. Whether we’re talking about external or internal threats, they’re both spearheaded by our behavior, errors, and malicious actions. So, the next time you revise your security protocols, we suggest you start with humans behind the systems, not the systems themselves.

While the technology continuously changes, and it’s hard to keep track of all new malware, there are always measures you can take internally. Besides providing better training, you can also put the right people in charge and ensure a healthy cybersecurity culture.

Learn more about employees’ impact on businesses’ IT security and the potential issues you might have to consider.

How does our behavior affect cybersecurity?

It’s hard to talk about network vulnerabilities without mentioning company employees. This is how behavioral traits affect cyber security in different organizations:

●     Negative motivation

Every small thing in the office is affected by a specific motivation. People who have a strong drive usually end up on the top of the corporate ladder. Similarly, those who are there just to collect the paycheck don’t last for long.

Negative motivations are the main reason behind cyber threats. When people are incentivized to work against the company or want to spite someone, they might take actions that will directly jeopardize the organization.

●     Trust and safety

Having too much trust in the system is a flawed way of thinking. Companies that have never experienced cyberattacks are under much less pressure than those that have. So, these employees take their foot off the gas, doing silly things such as using weak passwords or sharing information with the wrong people.

It’s also bad when there’s no trust between coworkers. Bosses who don’t trust their employees tend to scrutinize their email communication, opening the messages they shouldn’t. As a result, they might even open a suspicious file, causing a virus to spread throughout the system.

●     Roles and responsibilities

Lacking proper company roles or structure might also endanger the data, a problem that is most noticeable in small firms. When everyone’s doing everything, there’s a chance that people who lack tech savvy will handle IT tasks. Aside from introducing lousy protection, they might also tinker with the wrong files or share them with the wrong people.

●     Stress

When employees are overworked or experience mobbing, they’re more likely to cause unprovoked errors. Similarly, if they have too many things on their plate, they might have trouble keeping up with all the tasks.

5 Common risky behaviors to avoid

Besides hiring an elite cyber security provider and improving internal policies, there are 5 specific employee-related situations you need to avoid:

1.     Social media activity

Although companies invest big bucks in social media as they want to maximize their engagement, that doesn’t mean we should address every message in our inbox. In fact, the majority of emails and other communication we receive are salesy or malicious in nature, providing no value to our brand.

Oversharing on social media and being chatty Cathy isn’t always a good trait. This behavior leaves us open to phishing threats, where attackers can extract valuable data from our firm. Sometimes, employees fork over vital company information without even being provoked or manipulated.

The best way to address this potential threat is by having a two-person team where each employee will moderate what the other one is posting. Similarly, you should be careful when interacting with unknown entities.

2.     Weak passwords

As absurd as it might sound, one of the biggest threats in 2023 comes in the form of weak passwords. People are always looking for easy solutions, which can be seen by the type of protection they’re using. Going with a minimalistic password or reusing the same password is a common threat that needs to be addressed as soon as possible.

Luckily, this is one of the easier problems. All you need to do is remove all the cookies and log-ins and do them over again. Focus on web software and accounts that you use the most, and go from there. We also suggest you keep a notebook with your most important password.

3.     Default passwords

A similar problem comes in the form of default passwords. Your employees might log into different platforms by using their Facebook or Google, both of which might have a weak password to begin with. Alternatively, they might use IoT devices to access different portals, an issue that is especially common among employees working from home.

While these devices might not be as valuable as your office computer and don’t store the same wealth of company data, they’re still a part of the network. Through them, hackers can access other systems and cause all sorts of problems. Like the previous entry, this one can be circumvented with proper password policies and minimal due diligence.

4.     Physical access

Aside from digital threats, a potential security risk might come from the real world. Leaving your device unprotected from the public can jeopardize the company’s data and expose you to other issues. Like with some other things on the list, the problem is more common among companies and employees that allow remote and hybrid working.

While hackers won’t be able to access protected devices, such as phones, they can tinker with password-less laptops. So, whenever you’re out in public, make sure that you keep your devices close by. Alternatively, avoid storing company data on your laptop, tablet, and phone.

5.     Lack of training

The last risk has more to do with the company than the employees. Many businesses still take cybersecurity lightly and don’t invest any money in training their staff. As a result, these employees don’t fully understand what actions can endanger a company’s data.

The best way to prevent future issues is by introducing mandatory company-wide training and healthy security practices.


Whether due to behavior or lack of training, employees can cause quite a mess. Given that we’re all heavily reliant on the internet and web software, we’re exposed to these threats almost daily. Luckily, you can prevent potential attacks and increase your overall security by introducing healthy policies, limiting access, and assigning roles.


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National Cyber Security