Human error is responsible for 90% of hacking

Users themselves are the first line of defence for computer security

REUTERS/KACPER PEMPEL  -   A hooded hacker holds a laptop computer

The first line of defence against hacking is failing. This is what the multinational IBM has revealed. Most cyber attacks are made possible by human error. The pandemic has provided a springboard for internet fraudsters, who have expanded their reach because telecommuting has exposed corporate networks to the scrutiny of these criminals.

Increased criminal activity on the Internet has also found in the process of digitisation a veritable manna, exposing countless corporate networks to hackers' attacks.

Increased security is required, but over-complexity in these systems only increases the holes through which cyber criminals can penetrate.

This is why the main challenge at the moment is awareness and good practice among users, whose computers have become highly exposed. According to IBM, 90% of attacks are caused by bad user practices.

REUTERS/KACPER PEMPEL  -   A hooded hacker holds a laptop computer

The second challenge is knowing how to deal with the new threats that arise with technological advances, which at the same time as they represent new business opportunities, they also entail dangers, due to the confluence of technological and human aspects.

A third IT challenge is the use of increasingly sophisticated tools. These include artificial intelligence and machine learning, which are being used to better anticipate and identify attacks, as well as the resources to neutralise them.

The fourth challenge for the system is to achieve sustainability amidst so much innovation, such as the internet of things, which allows many devices to share sensitive information and data.

"As a result, the technology infrastructure is becoming unsustainable due to various malicious threats and unintentional errors. It is imperative to achieve a more sustainable ICT infrastructure by providing solutions that are secure and guarantee privacy," said David Megías, director of the Interdisciplinary Internet Institute.

Out in the open

A fifth challenge in IT security stems from the fact that personal data does not have to come from a cyber-attack, but can be exposed by security holes in the platforms themselves or users' lack of awareness of this type of vulnerability.

"The great challenge is to make data security and privacy compatible so that the technology is usable and we can work comfortably with it while protecting our systems and data," says Helena Rifà, director of the Master's Degree in Cybersecurity and Privacy at the UOC's Faculty of Computer Science, Multimedia and Telecommunications.