Humans have become the primary attack surface for cyber criminals

“As the world goes digital, humans have moved ahead of machines as the top target for hackers.

Ninety-one percent of attacks by cyber criminals start through email, according to email security provider Mimecast. These spear phishing attacks target humans, luring them to click on malicious URLs that place ransomware on their computers and phones.

The path of least resistance for black hats are non-technical hacks that rely on tricking humans into revealing their login credentials and passwords. With that in hand, cyber thieves proceed to steal personal identities and money.

How many humans are we talking about?

Microsoft estimates that by 2020 4 billion people will be online — twice the number that are online now. The 500 largest U.S. corporations by revenues which appear on the Fortune 500 employed 27 million people in total last year – about 17 percent of the nation’s workforce. The world’s 2,000 largest publicly traded companies which appear on the Forbes Global 2000 account for approximately 87 million employees.

Employees at large corporations are especially attractive to hackers who are after personal identities, which can be sold in black markets on the dark web. Privileged users who oversee and have access to hundreds or thousands of user credentials are big game.

MORE ON CSO: How to avoid phishing attacks
At the opposite end of the spectrum – it is estimated that by 2020 around 50 percent of the U.S. workforce will be self-employed, according to a Business.com article last year. These people are small business owners, independent contractors, and part-time freelancers.

Most small business employees do not receive any type of security awareness training by their employers. This makes them easy prey for hackers. Small businesses — who don’t train their employees on security risks — are susceptible to the Business Email Compromise Scam (BEC), which the FBI says has led to over $3 billion in losses.”

Read more details here.

Author: Steve Morgan