It is easy to become overwhelmed with the number of cyber security warnings we are faced with on a day to day basis. There is an increasing requirement to remember more passwords, go through more barriers to access our own information and keep up to date with software updates and reports of large scale cyber attacks. No wonder more and more of us are suffering from cyber security fatigue!
With the long list of dos and don’ts to contend with, it’s sometimes difficult to keep up. From a business perspective however, it is extremely important to keep on top of cyber security fatigue amongst employees, as it could result in otherwise preventable attacks.
Recognising cyber security fatigue
Cyber security fatigue is defined as a weariness with and reluctance to deal with computer security. The symptoms are easy to recognise. Many people will start to use generic passwords so that they don’t have so many to remember. Others may fail to update their security software because it just gets in the way of them getting on with their tasks, or because it costs them money. The overall result is a feeling of resignation, of being fed up with having to be constantly vigilant and prepared for attack. Users become lackadaisical, convinced either that an attack is one day inevitable, or that there wouldn’t be any point in attacking them anyway.
The importance of counteracting desensitisation
It is difficult not to become desensitised by the threat of a cyber security attack, especially for those who have not yet fallen victim. However, this is the case with any form of criminal attack. Some people may become lax about locking their cars, or wearing seatbelts, but physical risks are harder to ignore. People have also reported a feeling of resignation towards one day falling victim to a cyber security attack, believing that if large corporations cannot protect themselves, how can they?
This attitude needs to be dealt with, particularly when you consider that on a daily basis, one million new forms of malware are being created. Billions of logins have been stolen and shared online, and employees may well have come under attack without even realising it yet. Such desensitisation, or resignation, is dangerous for employers, causing people to act recklessly.
Effective ways to deal with cyber security fatigue
While much work is needed at developmental level to make effective cyber security more user-friendly, there are things that can be done at user level too. A good quality password manager allows users to ensure that they have complex and varied passwords, without having to remember them all. Password managers work by storing encrypted passwords, keeping them safe from hackers but always accessible to the user with one master password.
As with all cyber security risks, education is also key to preventing the weariness taking over. Employers need to provide employees with wake-up calls, whilst also making security easier to deal with. Regular cyber security training is always advised, and now that this new issue has been exposed, it is time to add it to the curriculum. Additionally, providing employees with straightforward instructions rather than long lists of policies, and ensuring they have access to effective but easy to use security software, is essential.
If you would like to know more about recognising and counteracting the effects of cyber security fatigue and making your security measures more straightforward, contact us today.