Privacy Blog

"Friends don’t let friends get spied on.' – Richard Stallman, President of the Free Software Foundation and longtime advocate of privacy in technology.

Cybersecurity’s Weakest Link: Humans

I will suggest that an article by Arun Vishwanath should be required reading by everyone who owns or uses computers or cell phones. The article states that one of the biggest threats to security and privacy is “spearfishing,” Vishwanath writes:

Cyber attacks that “seek to persuade victims to click on a hyperlink or an attachment that usually deploys software (called “malware”) allowing attackers access to the user’s computer or even to an entire corporate network.”

“The real target is humans

“Stopping spearphishing requires us to build better defenses around people. This, in turn, requires an understanding of why people fall victim to these sorts of attacks. My team’s recent research into the psychology of people who use computers developed a way to understand exactly how spearphishing attacks take advantage of the weaknesses in people’s online behaviors. It’s called the Suspicion, Cognition, Automaticity Model (SCAM).

“We built SCAM using simulated spearphishing attacks – conducted after securing permission from university research supervision groups who regulate experiments on human subjects to ensure nothing inappropriate is happening – on people who volunteered to participate in our tests.

“We found two primary reasons people are victimized.”

The full article may be found at

Categories: Online Privacy & Security

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