Defense against human mistakes.

What does Human Error mean in Cyber Security?

Human mistakes refer to accidental behaviors by staff or users that result in, spread, or permit a security breach. Examples include email misdelivery (email delivered to the incorrect recipient or address) and poor password hygiene (weak passwords are relatively simpler to crack or guess). Accordingly, this covers a wide range of behaviors, from installing a virus-infected application to forgoing the use of a strong password. These are some of the factors that make eliminating human error such a difficult task. Employees and users often choose shortcuts to make life a little easier because they need multiple identities and passwords for the numerous websites, applications, and services they use. Cybercriminal activity and other security breaches are now more likely as a result.

Social Engineering

The phrase “social engineering” refers to a wide variety of attacks involving human interaction. It mostly employs psychological manipulation to deceive users into committing security errors including hiding their genuine identities and motivations by posing as trustworthy people. Attackers frequently use this tactic since it’s frequently simpler to hack a person than a network or piece of software. Gathering data or conducting research on the target is the initial step in social engineering attacks. If the target is an organization, the attacker will acquire data on the personnel, internal processes, organizational structure, and other topics. One popular strategy is to concentrate on the online or social media conduct of employees who have initial access while reviewing their social media profiles. There are various types of social engineering techniques. A few of the most common types are:


As the term implies, an attacker leverages the user’s avarice or curiosity in this form of attack. Let’s say a hacker places a malicious external device at a location where an innocent user is guaranteed to find it. This device is inserted into the system by the user, or in this case, the “target,” who unwittingly installs the malware.


Pretexting is the process by which an attacker obtains information through a series of fabrications or con games in order to acquire the target’s private information (user). An attacker could commit pretexting fraud by claiming to require the financial or personal information to determine whether the user has been verified or not. The attacker will get data from the user in this way.


This tactic involves tricking the user into thinking that malware has infiltrated their system, which the attacker then fixes. In actuality, this is a ruse to access the user’s system by offering a solution.

Theft by distraction

To intercept the transaction entails deceiving a delivery service into going to the incorrect pickup or drop-off address. If an agency is more watchful, they can carefully avoid this.

Quid pro quo

In this kind of assault, the attacker poses as someone who is offering the target something in exchange for information. An attacker might, for instance, call a randomly chosen victim and pretend to be technical support. By doing this, the attacker may come across a real person in need of assistance and utilize them to either deploy malware or communicate in order to collect information.

Why are human mistakes so Dangerous?

Security lapses take advantage of the weakest link, which is frequently humans rather than any code they write. These human errors can take many different forms, such as using weak passwords or failing to detect a phishing assault (by opening a link from an anonymous source, the network is exposed to the attacker). Additionally, it causes data breaches.

If sufficient technological security measures are not followed, a cybercriminal may be able to guess the password or use social engineering to convince an employee to make a payment to a site owned by the criminal.

What factors lead to human mistakes?

Several factors play into human error, but the most common are these three


When there is a chance for it to happen, opportunity error can happen. Although this method may appear straightforward at first, if there are more ways for things to go wrong, users are more likely to make a mistake.

Lack of knowledge

Users’ lack of knowledge about the proper action to take is the main cause of the human error. Users who are unaware of the dangers of phishing, for instance, are much more likely to fall for phishing scams, and those who are unaware of the dangers of using public Wi-Fi will likely have their sessions hijacked or credentials were stolen very quickly.


There are numerous environmental elements that contribute to human errors. The physical setting of a workplace may result in more errors. Here, culture also has a significant impact. An end user will frequently be aware of the proper course of action, but they may choose not to follow it because there may be a simpler method or because they think it is not necessary. More mistakes will be made in a culture where security is consistently neglected.

Types of Human Error

Human mistakes can happen in a variety of ways and circumstances. However, they can be widely divided into two sorts by people. The key distinction between them is whether the user or subject has the knowledge required to take the appropriate action.

Skill-based mistake

These include little errors like slips and lapses made while carrying out routine chores and activities. These could happen if a worker or user is worn out, preoccupied, or not paying attention. Here, the end user is aware of the proper course of action but chooses not to follow it out of carelessness or error.

Mistakes based on choice

These mistakes happen when a user makes a poor decision, which can happen in any of the following situations: the user doesn’t have the necessary knowledge, there isn’t enough information, or they are unaware that their actions are leading to a conclusion.

How might human mistakes be avoided?

It is possible to successfully prevent security breaches by implementing the following procedures and fixes:

Revise the company’s security policy

The security policy of a company should specify in detail how to manage sensitive data, including passwords, who has access to it, and what security software should be applied to it.

Apply the least privilege principle.

Denying all access by default is the simplest technique to secure data access. Authenticating, authorizing, or continuously validating users and workers of an organization for security purposes is a very secure strategy when designing an IT system with zero trust in security or network. However, privileged access may be allowed in some circumstances. Organizations can avoid unintentional data leaks in this way.

Provide constant training and growth for the individual

Due to the ongoing growth of technology, client and consumer needs are also rising. The ability to learn new skills and receive training can help employees stay current.

But humans don’t necessarily have to be the weakest link. Users are assessed for their knowledge less frequently when there are fewer opportunities for mistakes; the more information users have, the less probable it is that they will make mistakes. Statistics indicate that human mistake is to blame for 95% of security breaches. However, it also demonstrates how even the smallest effort taken to prevent human mistakes may wind up being the most significant in guaranteeing reliable security.

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