what is a human firewall

What is Social Engineering?

Social engineering refers to the art of deceiving, influencing or manipulating you into doing something you wouldn’t normally do.

In cybersecurity, social engineering attacks are very common… 

Unfortunately, your firewall will not stop a harmless looking email message from getting through most network defenses because it may be just text with a message designed to influence you.

In cybersecurity, a “human firewall” refers to the concept of educating and training yourself and your employees to serve as the first line of defense against cyber threats and social engineering attacks.

Becoming a Human Firewall

Becoming a human firewall is a necessity today based on the recognition that even the most advanced technical security controls can be rendered ineffective if employees lack awareness and vigilance regarding cybersecurity risks.

The key components of a human firewall include:

  1. Security awareness training: Providing regular training and education to employees to raise their awareness about various cyber threats, such as phishing, malware, social engineering, and data breaches. This training aims to help employees recognize and respond appropriately to potential threats.
  2. Fostering a security-conscious culture: Promoting a culture of cybersecurity within the organization, where employees understand their roles and responsibilities in maintaining security, and security is viewed as everyone’s responsibility, not just the IT department’s.
  3. Encouraging vigilance and reporting: Encouraging employees to be vigilant and report any suspicious activities, emails, or incidents that could potentially compromise the organization’s security. This includes establishing clear reporting channels and procedures.
  4. Periodic testing and reinforcement: Conducting periodic tests, such as simulated phishing campaigns or social engineering exercises, to evaluate the effectiveness of the human firewall and identify areas for improvement. These tests help reinforce the importance of cybersecurity and provide opportunities for additional training and reinforcement.
  5. Continuous communication and updates: Regularly communicating with employees about emerging cyber threats, security best practices, and any changes to policies or procedures. This helps keep cybersecurity top-of-mind and ensures that employees are equipped with the latest information.

By training yourself and your employees to become strong human firewalls, organizations can significantly reduce the risk of successful cyber attacks that rely on human error or manipulation. Employees who are well-trained and aware of cyber threats are better equipped to identify and respond appropriately to potential security incidents, minimizing the chances of a successful breach or data compromise.

It’s important to note that while being a human firewall is a crucial component of an organization’s cybersecurity strategy, it should be complemented by robust technical controls, policies, and procedures to provide a multi-layered defense against cyber threats.

Download our free risk engineering checklist here.

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