Research conducted by information security company Clearswift has shown that links within e-mails are perceived as posing the biggest cyber threat to UK businesses, with 59% of business decision-makers highlighting this as a chief current concern for their organisation.
The research surveyed 600 senior business decision-makers and 1,200 employees across the UK, the US, Germany and Australia. When asked what they perceive to be the biggest threat to their organisation, business decision-makers ranked phishing e-mails as the foremost threat in all four surveyed regions.
“e-mail security consistently rears its head as a key vulnerability in UK cyber defences,” said Dr Guy Bunker, senior vice-president of products at Clearswift. “This highlights that businesses need to change the way in which they’re approaching the task of mitigating these risks. It’s easy for a company to perform mock phishing exercises and physical penetration tests to assess vulnerabilities. However, this underhanded approach to catch staff out may not always prove to be the best way forward. The approach should be two-fold and focused on balancing education with a robust technological safety net. This will help ensure the business stays safe.”
A lax attitude by employees to sharing passwords was ranked second on the list as a source of cyber weakness, with one-third (33%) of UK businesses listing this as one of the biggest threats.
USB sticks were the next biggest offender, with 31% of respondents highlighting USB/removable storage devices as a major threat.
Worryingly, ahead of the General Data Protection Regulation deadline on 25 May, 30% felt that employees not following data protection policies could prove to be one of the biggest threats to their organisation.