Workers still take cybersecurity shortcuts, despite knowing dangers

New research from ThycoticCentrify reveals most employees aren’t worried about high risk of cyberattack

Posted 28 July 2021 by Christine Horton

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 by ThycoticCentrify has 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 organisation is at a very high risk of a cybersecurity attack.

“People working in the cybersecurity 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?” asked Joseph Carson, chief security scientist and advisory CISO at ThycoticCentrify.

Carson urged employers to redouble efforts to encourage the best 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 organisation needs to establish security processes and work to ensure they resonate with employees.”

Lack of training

Just 44 percent of respondents received cybersecurity 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 organisations were the least likely to have given their staff cybersecurity training over the past year.

“Remote or hybrid working also poses a particular challenge to security, so organisations should be sure to embed good practices in their staff no matter where they are working from,” said Carson.

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

Despite knowing that clicking on links from unknown sources present a risk to an organisation, only 16 percent of respondents feel their business is at very high risk of cybersecurity attacks – an assumption contradicted by the 79 percent of respondents who saw an increase in the number of fraudulent and phishing messages in the last year.

ThycoticCentrify was formed when privileged access management (PAM) vendors Thycotic and Centrify merged in April.