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From Reactive to Proactive Strategies

Since joining the cybersecurity industry in 2021, I've been impressed by how technology-based cybersecurity solutions evolve to counteract fast-evolving technological threats. The industry has shown remarkable agility in responding to novel attack methods, innovating new software solutions, and managing breaches with cutting-edge technology. 

However, this technological adaptability contrasts starkly with the industry's handling of human factors in cybersecurity. While we excel in developing technological defenses, our approach to the human element is often reactive rather than proactive. The cycle of responding to new threats by creating or adapting technology can seem endless, and while it's challenging to defend against the unknown, this doesn't have to be the case, especially in the realm of social engineering.

Social engineering exploits do not require a reactive stance. The fields of psychology and social sciences offer extensive insights into manipulation techniques and defenses against them. Yet, our industry's training efforts have mainly focused on familiarizing individuals with technology, acronyms, and attack vectors. While understanding the tools and methods attackers use is undoubtedly important, it doesn't fully equip individuals to defend against the actual attack in progress.

Consider the analogy of knowing various types of knives: while useful, this knowledge doesn't directly prepare you to defend against an attack with one. Similarly, in social engineering, the focus on attack vectors and technological methods for accessing information is beneficial, but it misses the core issue. The essence of social engineering lies in manipulation — convincing individuals to act against their best interests.

To address this gap, we must evolve our training strategies. Simply teaching people about potential attack methods is no longer enough. We must also incorporate education on the manipulation techniques these attacks employ and foster an understanding that communication itself can be a vector for social engineering.

In this new era of human risk management, it's crucial to blend our technological defenses with a robust understanding of human psychology. By doing so, we not only enhance our ability to anticipate and counteract social engineering attacks but also empower individuals to recognize and resist manipulation.

Interested in finding out how to manage your human factors cybersecurity data? Get in touch with Praxis Security Labs experts today!