The Role of Human Error in Cybersecurity Breaches

The cyber-world is evolving at a rapid rate. The risk to client data, sensitive information, and cybersecurity breaches has never been so high. A majority of these cyber threats are due to human error. Cyberattacks are becoming increasingly sophisticated in their approach, making them a real threat to security. Knowing how people can be part of the problem in cyber solutions is important when building a strong defense against cybercrime.

While machines are responsible for transmitting, storing, and processing data in large volumes, humans are responsible for building infrastructure and systems that prevent breaches. With this in mind, it is imperative that human error be reduced or eliminated when it comes to cybersecurity breaches. let’s take a look at the role of human error In Cybersecurity breaches.

What Is Meant By Human Error?

We make mistakes all the time. Human error is most likely to occur when we interact with machinery or equipment in unfamiliar or unsafe conditions. While it is impossible to prevent all errors from occurring, it is possible to learn from them and use this knowledge to influence future behavior. An error can happen at multiple levels within an organization and can relate to technical, corporate, interpersonal, and legal matters.

Types Of Human Errors

Human errors can be categorized into several types. Slip-ups happen when someone unintentionally does something wrong, like pressing the wrong button. Mistakes occur when a wrong decision is made, despite intending to do right. Lastly, lapses are when something is forgotten, such as skipping a step in a process. Here are the five main types of human errors, which can be found in the filed of cybersecurity.

1.Expertise Based Actions

Human error will cause a procedure to be skipped, or an action to be carried out in an unexpected manner resulting in damage being done to the equipment or product. A person could execute the wrong process because of poor communication or a lack of organization, resulting in damage or failure of a product even though no damage occurred. Creating a procedure or design that eliminates human error is referred to as Design Thinking.

2.Knowledge-Based Actions

Specific situations give rise to specific norms. A person who has never been in charge of anything will therefore utilize behavior that is outside the box, which is an incorrect perception because it does not take into account how such rules or procedures would appear to someone who has experienced the situation before.

3.Rule-Based Actions

These rules are things that an individual has to observe and realize as they carry out specific tasks within their role. The tasks can be diverse but within the same field of work. This behavior occurs when an individual is advancing in their career or business. The sort of knowledge or skills that employees acquire when progressing through an organization will determine what sort of behaviors they experience. If the employee has been trained in a particular way, they will automatically know how to behave in certain situations.

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5 Human Errors Cause Most Cybersecurity Vulnerabilities

  1. Not using complex passwords
  2. A lack of physical security
  3. Failing to patch software
  4. A lack of intrusion detection
  5. Email not sent

Let’s take a look at each of them one by one.

1.Not Using Complex Passwords

Your computer has been left unsecured because you aren’t using complex passwords. This puts you at risk of being hacked and having everything from your bank account to credit cards stolen. Using strong passwords and using complicated security patterns is one of the most basic practices to protect your computer.

But the good news is that most common vulnerabilities in Internet software can be prevented if you are careful and follow simple security precautions every time you log in to your computer or network. If you have ever had your computer or network exposed to other people, you know how important it is to have a strong, unique password for each account you have access to.

2.A Lack of Physical Security

Security vulnerabilities are everywhere. From internet portals and databases with user names and passwords to retail systems and manufacturing facilities, computer systems are complex and vulnerable to theft or economic sabotage. Even the best security systems in place can be breached if employees or contractors have access to confidential information that could allow them access to systems or networks without proper authority.

Security software saves time and money for businesses by preventing remote access to systems, preventing viruses from destroying data, tracking down who has access to what data, and even tracking down where the data is going if it leaves an organization.

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3.Failing to Patch Software

Most cybersecurity vulnerabilities discovered in recent years have been fixed by vendors with little fanfare. Vendor patches can be mere browser additions or software updates that fix broken functionality in older software versions, but no matter what the source of the vulnerability, ignoring it remains a serious risk. Recent data shows that as many as 75 percent of companies haven’t fully patched their networks against known cybersecurity threats, leaving their employees and clients exposed to campaigns of phishing scams, data theft, and more.

In some cases, patches are available to fix the vulnerabilities immediately. In other cases, organizations must endure weeks or months of degraded performance as their IT departments struggle to patch their systems.

4.A Lack of Intrusion Detection

One of the biggest issues that affect businesses today is data loss due to hacking or external threats. Companies now spend more money protecting against these attacks than maintaining their networks, making it crucial to hire experts who can detect potential threats in real-time. Not only can you prevent data losses due to hackers, but you can also minimize the impact of an attack by learning how to recognize cybersecurity vulnerabilities in your network. If an attack is successful, however, it can be just as damaging without proper protection.

Organizations should also implement defensive measures in place to protect against these attacks; physical measures such as installing firewalls, as well as software products that can detect network attacks and give out clear instructions on what to do in the event.

5.Email Not Sent

An email has become an important communication tool for businesses, individuals, and software providers. Business owners and office workers send hundreds of emails per day, and there’s a good chance that your email will be compromised. It is no secret that hackers have been targeting businesses with damaging attacks since they can access confidential information via email accounts. Depending on your industry, there may be multiple attacks per day and/or week that could affect your business.

Best Practices to Reduce Human Errors

  • Replace passwords with physical keys
  • Require a second authentication process for highly sensitive data
  • Start a cybersecurity awareness campaign
  • Ask your staff to stay educated on the latest hacks
  • Update your software
  • Keep a written record of all your passwords
  • Encrypt your data
  • Backups are important as well as encryption
  • Recognize the red flags of cyber attacks
  • Prevent phishing attacks with training


Cybersecurity breaches have become a regular occurrence for businesses and consumers alike. Forensic techniques can help lock down a network if attackers get in. But the human error in the delivery of information can leave organizations vulnerable.

A security breach can occur when a company’s network is breached, or a hacker gains access to personal or sensitive information from another company’s network. Any of these three scenarios can result in a data breach for a company, but there are significant differences in the severity and impact of each type of breach on small businesses, individual consumers, and small businesses in general.