It is a long-established fact that a reader will be distracted by the readable content of a page when looking at its layout.


Often in the world of cybersecurity and technology, there are tools and software that can assist with addressing our needs and accomplishing our goals. Most are effective and good at what they advertise they can do. But can a tool or piece of software be the silver bullet for all our cybersecurity problems? The answer is no.

The actions of humans remain the biggest cybersecurity challenge, and there is no easy technology fix for this issue. Companies can have the latest, greatest, and state-of-the-art tools, firewalls, authentication methods, and detection software in place, but these all become ineffective when an employee clicks on a link in a phishing email.

Social engineering and phishing attacks are the reason for some of the biggest breaches hitting companies we read about in news stories every day. Humans being the key flaw in a cybersecurity program is not new and should not be surprising. Hackers prey on tricking employees into doing something against security best practices and breaching defenses that may be in place. Successful attacks don’t need to involve sophisticated techniques, software, tools, or even exploiting as-of-yet undisclosed vulnerabilities.

All it takes is a simple social engineering message and can read like “Hey John, I’m from the IT team, and we need to quickly update something on your PC to address a vulnerability. Please click the link below to patch your system and it will report back to us you are all set. Thanks”

Social engineering is a form of hacking that has been around for over 20 years. It still takes place today because it is successful and works. It can be used against all types of companies and employees and doesn’t require a deep knowledge of technology to execute.

Social engineering and phishing attacks can canvas large groups of people and cybercriminals bank on the odds someone will fall for the bait. Without a training program in place to spread awareness, education, and making your users aware of the risks that they (and by extension the organization) are exposed to, they will keep falling for the oldest tricks in the hacking playbook.

Training can be boring and time consuming. It’s conceivable that users don’t pay attention during training or are too busy with other things to take training or remember what they learned about analyzing emails. Due to the high level of risk associated with social engineering attacks, the excuse “I didn’t know I shouldn’t click email links” is getting harder and harder for companies to accept.

There is no magic solution for the cybersecurity implications of human behavior. We will all make mistakes and as in every avenue in life where humans repeatedly make mistakes, reinforcing education is really the only option. If some of the biggest companies with the most tech-savvy employees can fall victim, then it can happen to anyone else too. The best option is to impress cybersecurity best practices through educational programs that get provided to every employee from upper-level executives down.

It’s known in cybersecurity; you will never be able to mitigate 100 percent of your risk. There is always a chance of users having a bad day, being in a rush, not paying close enough attention, and accidently clicking on something they shouldn’t. But, as with every approach to cybersecurity, the focus should be on minimizing and mitigating that risk. Constantly reinforcing and educating is your best defense.

If your company doesn’t know where to begin, how to provide, or what topics to cover as part of a cybersecurity awareness and training program, the CatchMark Technologies Cybersecurity team can help solve that problem. We specialize in setting up programs to provide short, meaningful, and useful training to employees to address the latest threats facing companies that includes social engineering and phishing. We also set up simulated phishing attacks that provide opportunities for employees to spot, stop, and report criminal activity in a safe setting, while providing additional reinforcement if goals are not met. CatchMark is currently are offering a free one-time simulation to test your users and gauge awareness.