Home News Compulsive clickers are a security risk

Compulsive clickers are a security risk

by Brian Sims

The UK has ranked high for the ‘compulsive clickers’ category. A new research commissioned by Sourcefire, a leader in intelligent cyber security solutions and now part of Cisco, has revealed that 90 per cent of UK workers surveyed have clicked on a web link embedded in an email with two-thirds (66 per cent) admitting they very rarely first check to ensure the link is genuine. Not only does this expose the individual to a high risk of an IT security breach, it potentially leaves companies open to a hack attack as cybercriminal gangs target individuals to gain access to corporate networks and sensitive data. According to the study, caution when it comes to clicking on an unverified web link on an email is age related. 46 per cent of surveyed workers, aged between 24-30 year old, fall on the ‘compulsive clicking category.’ The following category, the ‘cautious clickers’ (44 per cent) say only occasionally click on a web link sent to them and when they do, 23 per cent of them will check to see if the link is genuine. The most cautious are those in the 55 plus age range (47 per cent). Only 10 per cent of those surveyed are in the ‘never clicks’ category who say they would never click on a web link received via an email. The issue of identity has never been more pertinent as more people are now shedding their real-world identities online and adopting digital personas. This makes it tricky to know whether an email received is from a ‘real’ person or a fraudster masquerading as a friend. Dominic Storey, technical director EMEA at Sourcefire says,” It’s frightening to see how easily users can be duped into clicking what looks like an innocent web link, but which can actually give a hacker full control over the user’s computer in a matter of minutes without the victim knowing a thing about it. For most organisations it’s a case of when they will be subjected to an IT security breach, not if. The study also revealed that 92 per cent of those surveyed are more likely to trust a web link in an email if it came from a trusted source, yet only 34 per cent of UK workers would always take precautions to ensure that the link is genuine. Worryingly, five per cent of the sample stated that they never check to see if a link is genuine and 10 per cent have no idea how to check, which can be done by hovering the mouse over the link. Storey adds,” Professional cybercrime gangs are adept at social engineering using social media to develop a profile of an individuals’ interests and circle of friends to target them, often by pretending to be a friend or family member. They know often the easiest way into any corporate network is via the weakest link in the security chain of an organisation” a staff member.”

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