4 Types of employees that are most vulnerable to cyberattacks

4 Types of employees that are most vulnerable to cyberattacks

Cybercriminals are no longer interested in hacking your software applications to infiltrate your systems and steal sensitive information for their own gain. Instead, they are now exploiting what they believe is the most vulnerable aspect of your organization: your employees.

Attackers find it easier and more profitable to exploit user negligence than to create sophisticated network intrusions or malicious software. By manipulating one of your employees to click on a link or send a confidential file, they can easily infiltrate a company’s IT infrastructure.

Which of your workers are the most vulnerable to cyberattacks? Let’s take a look:

1. Salespeople

Aside from talking to existing clients, salespeople devote a lot of time talking to prospective customers. They are an ideal target for cybercriminals because with just one phone call or email, salespeople can easily disclose confidential data such as customer information and financial details. Some attackers may target a specific sales employee, researching their target's online behavior to make themselves appear familiar and trustworthy.

2. Human resources employees

HR departments often interact with job applicants on a daily basis. Cybercriminals can exploit this by posing as applicants and sending malicious files disguised as résumés that are injected with malicious macros. If opened, these files can execute harmful commands on the victim’s device and steal files or render the system inoperable.

3. Finance and accounting staff

Cybercriminals today primarily launch cyberattacks for financial gain, so they’re targeting people who have access to your company’s financial accounts. They do this through business email compromise (BEC) attacks, where businesses are tricked into making wire transfers to a fraudulent bank account. According to the FBI, BEC attacks caused businesses over $1.8 billion in losses in 2020.

4. C-level executives

C-level executives are profitable cybercrime targets because they have access to a large number of company data, influence staff, and approve transactions.

Cybercriminals usually trick executives into disclosing sensitive company data through phishing or by pretending to be a trusted colleague, bank, or government official over the phone. They then use the stolen information to pose as the executive to ask employees for more confidential data or wire money to a fraudulent bank account.

How can you protect your employees and business from cyberattacks?

One way to do this is by conducting cybersecurity awareness training. This involves educating your entire workforce about various cybersecurity threats and your company’s methods for addressing and preventing them.

For instance, teach employees about good cybersecurity hygiene habits, such as:

  • Identifying and avoiding phishing scams:Teach your employees to avoid opening suspicious-looking and unsolicited emails and links. Remind them not to download files from unsafe websites, as these could contain malware.
  • Using passphrases: Passphrases, such as “itunes unreached resend errant evoke” and “Scrape Between1 Stroke Immediate,” are much harder for hackers to guess but easier for users to remember. This makes them an ideal method of securing data.
  • Enabling multifactor authentication (MFA): MFA strengthens an account’s security by requiring users to provide at least one more authentication factor on top of their password. This could be a one-time passcode, smartphone prompt, physical security key, or fingerprint scan, among others.

You can also simulate cyberattacks to assess your business’s defenses and your employees' security awareness. Send out a fake phishing email to everybody and see who falls for the bait. Or stage a malware attack to see who is fast enough to prevent their files from getting infected. Reward those who performed well and provide a refresher course to those who failed the exercise. Conduct cybersecurity awareness training every four to six months to foster a culture of security compliance in your organization and thereby reduce cybersecurity risks.

Another way to protect your employees from cyberattacks is by implementing role-based access control (RBAC). RBAC restricts network access based on a user's role within a company. This means an employee can only access the information necessary for them to perform their job. This can help secure your company’s sensitive data and important applications.

You can also partner with NetQuest to strengthen your business’s defenses against cyberattacks. We will monitor your IT infrastructure round the clock for security threats and eliminate them before they disrupt your operations. If your business is in greater Baltimore, Annapolis, or Towson, request a risk-free audit today.


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