Do Not Invite Them In: What “Human Error” Can Mean In Practice

Do Not Invite Them In: What “Human Error” Can Mean In Practice
Alessia Unfer
Read More From Alessia Unfer
October 6, 2016 | 4 Min Read

Although you may or may not be a fan of vampire movies, you certainly know that vampires should not be invited into your house. One of the characters in the movie Lost Boys (1987) once said: “Don’t ever invite a vampire into your house, you silly boy. It renders you powerless.” A statement that well applies to the topic of this blog, i.e. that we should never be handing keys to cyber criminals; this can also render you powerless.

So called “human errors” cause more data loss than malicious attacks, according to the UK’s Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) and at Digital Shadows it is no secret that the largest threat to an organisation’s data is its own employees – whether deliberate or not. Back in February, a colleague published a blog that stated, “while smart cyber criminals hacking corporate systems get lots of publicity, the reality is cyber exposure incidents all too often have non-criminal, accidental causes.” The same was reiterated by the study “Managing Insider Risk Through Training & Culture” published by Experian Data Breach Resolution and the Ponemon Institute, which explained how more than half of the surveyed companies experienced security incidents due to malicious or negligent employees falling victim to cyberattacks or exposing information inadvertently.

If “to err is human”, mistakes can also be easily corrected once aware of the risk. Let’s look into one type of incident often detected by our Searchlight platform here at Digital Shadows. By doing this you will receive an insight in what constitutes a common “human error” that could be affecting your organization one day: the easy access to codes and compromised credentials on the open web. All analysed instances contain compromised credentials made available on the public website github[.]com, a web-based Git repository hosting service providing access control and several collaboration features.

For the purpose of this post, we collected data on the number of incidents that we have sourced from Github in the past six months and the result was quite revealing. Over 500 incidents included client information publicly available on Github. But that’s not all. Out of this total amount, we assessed the severity of seven incidents as “Very High” according to our in-house severity matrix, due to the public repositories being recently updated and containing identifiable client systems information and code—including a clear text username and password set. This shows a fairly worrying average of one serious incident detected every month. Although we can’t say for sure why this is happening, it does not appear to constitute an exception in what is becoming such a common – and unfortunate – scenario of login credentials being pushed to public repositories while rushing to get the work done. In this case, GitHub’s help page provides detailed instructions on how to avoid exposing sensitive data on the repository and how to remove them if already exposed.

Keep in mind that prevention is better than a cure in such matters. Simple, well-executed preventive measures continue to be more important than complex systems. In fact, technological defences will not protect your computer if human nature does not care as much. As previously said, “to err is human” but “to persist is devilish.” Yet the blame cannot be pinned solely on the guilty individual. According to an Experian study, companies do understand the risk posed by careless or negligent employees that in turn could lead to a data leak or other security incidents. However, these same companies do not cultivate employee security awareness, leaving prevention largely forgotten. It appears that 60 percent of the respondents believes that employees are not knowledgeable or have no knowledge of the company’s security risks.

Simply put, cybersecurity should be every employee’s concern. Here at Digital Shadows we don’t like to sit back and wait for something to go wrong before we try to understand it ­– and neither should you. This is when cyber situational awareness comes into the picture; preventing, detecting, and helping contain cyber-related incidents while providing your organization with a better understanding of where your vulnerabilities lie within your organization.

“We blew it, man, we lost it! We unravelled in the face of the enemy!”, said the vampire in Lost Boys, when caught. “Shut up! It’s not our fault, they pulled a mind scramble on us! They opened their eyes and talked!”, replied his fellow vampire. We all also need to open our eyes, detect and avoid silly mistakes that can simplify things for cyber criminals. Identifying and effectively handling internal risk is key to the more efficient management of the external one.

Access Our Threat Intel In Test Drive

Test Drive SearchLight Free for 7 Days
Try It Now

Connect with us

Related Posts

Reducing technical leakage: Detecting software exposure from the outside-in

Reducing technical leakage: Detecting software exposure from the outside-in

June 16, 2020 | 6 Min Read

Modern Development Practices Leads to...
The 2020 Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report: One CISO’s View

The 2020 Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report: One CISO’s View

May 19, 2020 | 6 Min Read

Sadly, Marvel’s Black Widow release date was...
A NEW DECADE OF CYBER THREATS: LOOKING BACK AT THE TRENDING CYBER TOPICS OF Q1 2020

A NEW DECADE OF CYBER THREATS: LOOKING BACK AT THE TRENDING CYBER TOPICS OF Q1 2020

May 14, 2020 | 10 Min Read

Q1 2020 was packed full of significant...
Contact Tracing: Can ‘Big Tech’ Come to the Rescue, and at What Cost?

Contact Tracing: Can ‘Big Tech’ Come to the Rescue, and at What Cost?

May 11, 2020 | 13 Min Read

Co-authored by: Pratik Sinha MD PhD1,2, Alastair...
Zoom Security and Privacy Issues: Week in Review

Zoom Security and Privacy Issues: Week in Review

April 17, 2020 | 10 Min Read

In the last month, you’ve likely been hearing...
Top Priorities for 3rd party risk assessments

Top Priorities for 3rd party risk assessments

April 16, 2020 | 6 Min Read

If you’re like me, you’re probably tired of...
COVID-19, Remote Working, and The Future of Cyber Security

COVID-19, Remote Working, and The Future of Cyber Security

April 15, 2020 | 6 Min Read

The unprecedented global lockdown in the face of...
The Digital Risk Underdog: Remediation

The Digital Risk Underdog: Remediation

April 1, 2020 | 4 Min Read

When it comes to evaluating threat intelligence...
COVID-19: Companies and Verticals At Risk For Cyber Attacks

COVID-19: Companies and Verticals At Risk For Cyber Attacks

March 26, 2020 | 8 Min Read

  In our recent blog, How cybercriminals...
Threat Model of a Remote Worker

Threat Model of a Remote Worker

March 25, 2020 | 7 Min Read

Threat models are an often discussed but...
Love Where You Work – Near and Far We Celebrate Our Team

Love Where You Work – Near and Far We Celebrate Our Team

March 12, 2020 | 6 Min Read

#LoveWhereYouWork Entering into 2020 felt a bit...
Want to Control Your Ever-Changing Perimeter? Focus on Integrations.

Want to Control Your Ever-Changing Perimeter? Focus on Integrations.

March 4, 2020 | 5 Min Read

An ever changing perimeter? Over the past few...
The Ecosystem of Phishing: From Minnows to Marlins

The Ecosystem of Phishing: From Minnows to Marlins

February 20, 2020 | 31 Min Read

YOU JUST WON $1,000. CLICK HERE TO CLAIM YOUR...
RSA Conference 2020: CISO Tips for Making the Most of Conference Sessions

RSA Conference 2020: CISO Tips for Making the Most of Conference Sessions

February 19, 2020 | 5 Min Read

  RSA Conference is just days away, and...
The evolving story of the Citrix ADC Vulnerability: Ears to the Ground

The evolving story of the Citrix ADC Vulnerability: Ears to the Ground

February 18, 2020 | 4 Min Read

  The dust hasn’t quite settled on the...
How to Operationalize Threat Intelligence: Actionability and Context

How to Operationalize Threat Intelligence: Actionability and Context

February 5, 2020 | 5 Min Read

  In 1988 the idea of a Computer...
Inside Digital Shadows: Davitt Potter Joins as Director of MSSP and Channels in the Americas

Inside Digital Shadows: Davitt Potter Joins as Director of MSSP and Channels in the Americas

January 22, 2020 | 5 Min Read

  I’ve spent over 25 years now in the...
Top Security Blogs of 2019 from Digital Shadows

Top Security Blogs of 2019 from Digital Shadows

December 20, 2019 | 4 Min Read

  As we approach the end of 2019, we...
2020 Cybersecurity Forecasts: 5 trends and predictions for the new year

2020 Cybersecurity Forecasts: 5 trends and predictions for the new year

December 18, 2019 | 10 Min Read

  If all the holiday fuss isn’t...
Asset Inventory Management: Difficult But Essential

Asset Inventory Management: Difficult But Essential

November 27, 2019 | 4 Min Read

  If it’s one thing that most security...
BSidesDFW 2019: OSINT Workshop Recap

BSidesDFW 2019: OSINT Workshop Recap

November 18, 2019 | 5 Min Read

  A few Saturdays ago, we had the...
Combatting Domain-Centric Fraud: Why Mimecast is partnering with Digital Shadows

Combatting Domain-Centric Fraud: Why Mimecast is partnering with Digital Shadows

November 7, 2019 | 3 Min Read

This is a guest blog, authored by Matthew...
Your Cyber Security Career – Press start to begin

Your Cyber Security Career – Press start to begin

October 30, 2019 | 13 Min Read

  October was Cyber Security Awareness...
Singapore Cyber Threat Landscape report (H1 2019)

Singapore Cyber Threat Landscape report (H1 2019)

September 26, 2019 | 7 Min Read

Despite being the second smallest country in...
Mapping the NIST Cybersecurity Framework to SearchLight: Eating our own BBQ

Mapping the NIST Cybersecurity Framework to SearchLight: Eating our own BBQ

September 10, 2019 | 2 Min Read

Back in February, I wrote about how we avoid the...
The Nouns of Black Hat: People, Places, and Things From Summer Camp 2019

The Nouns of Black Hat: People, Places, and Things From Summer Camp 2019

August 19, 2019 | 6 Min Read

Black Hat and DEFCON are a wrap! Digital Shadows...
Surviving and Thriving at Blackhat and DEF CON Summer Camp 2019

Surviving and Thriving at Blackhat and DEF CON Summer Camp 2019

July 24, 2019 | 4 Min Read

With BSides, Black Hat and DEF CON (aka Security...
Welcoming NAB Ventures & Scaling SearchLight for Growth

Welcoming NAB Ventures & Scaling SearchLight for Growth

July 9, 2019 | 2 Min Read

Today is an exciting day for Digital Shadows....
Managing Digital Risk: 4 Steps to Take

Managing Digital Risk: 4 Steps to Take

June 18, 2019 | 9 Min Read

Organizations are finding it increasingly...
Managing Infosec Burnout: The Hidden Perpetrator

Managing Infosec Burnout: The Hidden Perpetrator

June 10, 2019 | 8 Min Read

The secret of the burnout epidemic lies in how we...
Partnering with SecureLink to help organizations minimize their digital risk

Partnering with SecureLink to help organizations minimize their digital risk

May 15, 2019 | 3 Min Read

Today we announced that SecureLink, one of...
Enabling Soi Dog’s Digital Transformation: A Case Study

Enabling Soi Dog’s Digital Transformation: A Case Study

May 8, 2019 | 3 Min Read

At the beginning of this year I was introduced to...
Announcing Digital Shadows’ ISO27001 certification

Announcing Digital Shadows’ ISO27001 certification

May 7, 2019 | 2 Min Read

I'm pleased to announce that Digital Shadows has...
Making Some Noise in the Channel

Making Some Noise in the Channel

April 1, 2019 | 3 Min Read

Digital Shadows Channel REV Partner Program...
Six Steps for Security Professionals to make the most out of the RSA Conference

Six Steps for Security Professionals to make the most out of the RSA Conference

February 20, 2019 | 4 Min Read

This year’s RSA Conference is March 4th-7th in...
Photon Research Team Shines Light On Digital Risks

Photon Research Team Shines Light On Digital Risks

February 13, 2019 | 2 Min Read

I’m very excited to announce the launch of the...
Introducing Our Practical Guide to Reducing Digital Risk

Introducing Our Practical Guide to Reducing Digital Risk

February 12, 2019 | 5 Min Read

Download a copy of A Practical Guide to Reducing...
CISO Spotlight: Security Goals and Objectives for 2019

CISO Spotlight: Security Goals and Objectives for 2019

February 7, 2019 | 6 Min Read

I recently joined our ShadowTalk podcast to...
You’ve got a digital strategy, but how are you managing digital risks?

You’ve got a digital strategy, but how are you managing digital risks?

February 7, 2019 | 3 Min Read

Download a free copy of Digital Risk: The...
Joining The Market Leader in Digital Risk Protection

Joining The Market Leader in Digital Risk Protection

February 6, 2019 | 3 Min Read

Our marketing department asked me to write a blog...
Don’t Just Read Intelligence: Learn From It

Don’t Just Read Intelligence: Learn From It

January 17, 2019 | 5 Min Read

The Importance of Learning in Cyber...
Security Analyst Spotlight Series: Phil Doherty

Security Analyst Spotlight Series: Phil Doherty

January 10, 2019 | 5 Min Read

Organizations rely on Digital Shadows to be an...
Four New Year Cyber Security Resolutions

Four New Year Cyber Security Resolutions

January 3, 2019 | 8 Min Read

Another year is upon us in the world of...
Digital Shadows New Integration for Splunk

Digital Shadows New Integration for Splunk

December 10, 2018 | 3 Min Read

Today we announced the release of an updated...
Using Shadow Search to Power Investigations: Sextortion Campaigns

Using Shadow Search to Power Investigations: Sextortion Campaigns

December 6, 2018 | 3 Min Read

We recently wrote about sextortion campaigns and...
Security Analyst Spotlight Series: Adam Cook

Security Analyst Spotlight Series: Adam Cook

November 7, 2018 | 6 Min Read

Organizations rely on our cyber intelligence...
Cyber Security Awareness Month: Week 4 – Privacy

Cyber Security Awareness Month: Week 4 – Privacy

October 25, 2018 | 6 Min Read

This week in Brussels, Apple’s chief executive...
Cyber Security Awareness Month: Week 3 – Recognize Cyber Scams

Cyber Security Awareness Month: Week 3 – Recognize Cyber Scams

October 19, 2018 | 7 Min Read

This week we move onto theme three of Cyber...
Cyber Security Awareness Month: Week 3 – It’s Everyone’s Job to Ensure Online Safety at Work

Cyber Security Awareness Month: Week 3 – It’s Everyone’s Job to Ensure Online Safety at Work

October 17, 2018 | 7 Min Read

This week, National Cyber Security Awareness...
Cyber Security Awareness Month: Week 2 – Aiming for Apprenticeships

Cyber Security Awareness Month: Week 2 – Aiming for Apprenticeships

October 11, 2018 | 5 Min Read

This week’s theme for National Cyber Security...
Cyber Security Awareness Month: Week 1 – Credential Hygiene

Cyber Security Awareness Month: Week 1 – Credential Hygiene

October 3, 2018 | 5 Min Read

It’s the opening week of the annual National...
Security Analyst Spotlight Series: Christian Rencken

Security Analyst Spotlight Series: Christian Rencken

October 2, 2018 | 5 Min Read

Organizations rely on our cyber intelligence...
10 Things You Didn’t Know You Could Do with Shadow Search™

10 Things You Didn’t Know You Could Do with Shadow Search™

September 25, 2018 | 5 Min Read

You may have seen that we’ve recently released...
Security Analyst Spotlight Series: Heather Farnsworth

Security Analyst Spotlight Series: Heather Farnsworth

August 30, 2018 | 5 Min Read

Organizations rely on Digital Shadows to be an...
Diversity of Thoughts in the Workplace: Are You Thinking What I’m Thinking?

Diversity of Thoughts in the Workplace: Are You Thinking What I’m Thinking?

August 1, 2018 | 3 Min Read

In my most recent blog post I discussed Digital...
Security Spotlight Series: Dr. Richard Gold

Security Spotlight Series: Dr. Richard Gold

July 31, 2018 | 4 Min Read

Organizations rely on Digital Shadows to be an...
Black Hat USA 2018

Black Hat USA 2018

July 26, 2018 | 2 Min Read

Black Hat USA 2018 is quickly approaching! The...
Security Analyst Spotlight Series: Harrison Van Riper

Security Analyst Spotlight Series: Harrison Van Riper

July 10, 2018 | 6 Min Read

Organizations rely on our cyber intelligence...
Diversity and Digital Shadows Women’s Network

Diversity and Digital Shadows Women’s Network

June 26, 2018 | 3 Min Read

If you haven’t already watched RBG - a movie...
Security Analyst Spotlight Series: Rafael Amado

Security Analyst Spotlight Series: Rafael Amado

June 14, 2018 | 9 Min Read

Organizations rely on Digital Shadows to be an...
7 Ways The Digital Risk Revolution Changes Risk and Compliance – Webinar Key Insights

7 Ways The Digital Risk Revolution Changes Risk and Compliance – Webinar Key Insights

May 30, 2018 | 5 Min Read

Lockpath’s Vice President of Development Tony...
Security Analyst Spotlight Series: Rose Bernard

Security Analyst Spotlight Series: Rose Bernard

May 23, 2018 | 5 Min Read

Organizations rely on our cyber intelligence...
A New Approach for Channel Security Consultants

A New Approach for Channel Security Consultants

May 22, 2018 | 5 Min Read

Old school security practices simply don’t fit...
Digital Shadows 7th Anniversary – A Look Back

Digital Shadows 7th Anniversary – A Look Back

May 16, 2018 | 4 Min Read

Today marks the 7th anniversary of Digital...
Offsetting Dunbar by Developing Diversity

Offsetting Dunbar by Developing Diversity

May 8, 2018 | 2 Min Read

Some of you may be familiar with the Dunbar...
Digital Shadows Opens New State of the Art London Office in Canary Wharf

Digital Shadows Opens New State of the Art London Office in Canary Wharf

April 26, 2018 | 2 Min Read

When myself and James Chappell set the company up...
Introducing Shadow Search – Quickly enable deeper research and investigation

Introducing Shadow Search – Quickly enable deeper research and investigation

April 10, 2018 | 5 Min Read

All enterprises face key challenges in their...
One CISO’s Recommendations for Making the Most of RSA Conference Sessions

One CISO’s Recommendations for Making the Most of RSA Conference Sessions

April 9, 2018 | 6 Min Read

Last week, Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG)...
RSA Conference 2018 – Digital Shadows

RSA Conference 2018 – Digital Shadows

March 28, 2018 | 2 Min Read

RSA Conference is almost here! This year’s...
Pressing For Progress This International Women’s Day

Pressing For Progress This International Women’s Day

March 8, 2018 | 3 Min Read

"Do you think you're going to be able to handle...
Don’t Rely on One Star to Manage Digital Risk, The Key is Total Coverage

Don’t Rely on One Star to Manage Digital Risk, The Key is Total Coverage

January 16, 2018 | 5 Min Read

This post originally appeared on...
Digital Shadows Launches Weekly Newsletter: “In the Shadows”

Digital Shadows Launches Weekly Newsletter: “In the Shadows”

January 8, 2018 | 2 Min Read

Digital Shadows has just launched a new...
Why I Joined Digital Shadows: Product, Culture and Opportunity

Why I Joined Digital Shadows: Product, Culture and Opportunity

December 13, 2017 | 2 Min Read

Making the decision to join Digital Shadows was...
A New CISO Looking to See How Deep the Rabbit Hole Goes

A New CISO Looking to See How Deep the Rabbit Hole Goes

December 12, 2017 | 2 Min Read

Well it is official, I’m now the Chief...

Digital Shadows’ Most Popular Blogs of 2017: Analysis of Competing Hypotheses For The Win

December 12, 2017 | 3 Min Read

This time last year, we looked back at the blogs...
Meet the New Digitalshadows.com

Meet the New Digitalshadows.com

November 29, 2017 | 2 Min Read

This morning we launched the new Digital Shadows...
Groupthink

Know Where to Find Your Digital Risk

November 10, 2017 | 4 Min Read

This post originally appeared on SecurityWeek....
women in cyber

Women in Security: Where We Are And Where We Need To Go

October 25, 2017 | 7 Min Read

Ada Lovelace, Grace Hopper, Katherine Johnson,...
Digital Shadows Announcement

Simply Put, Effective Cybersecurity is the Strength Sum of Its Parts

October 11, 2017 | 2 Min Read

Today’s cybersecurity landscape, dominated as...
online safety

Simple Steps to Online Safety

October 5, 2017 | 4 Min Read

On the heels of some very high-profile and...
NCSAM

Gearing Up For National Cyber Security Awareness Month

October 3, 2017 | 4 Min Read

I’m going to go out on a limb and say that...
digital shadows funding

Recognition of Hard Work and Relevance – It’s Time to Go Global

September 20, 2017 | 3 Min Read

The news this morning that Digital Shadows has...
Company Anniversary Cyber Security

Digital Shadows’ 6th Anniversary

May 16, 2017 | 5 Min Read

It’s amazing to think that the idea James and I...
Brand Reputation Digital Risk

The 3 Pillars of Digital Risk Management: Part 3 – The Top 5 Main Risks of Reputational Damage

April 27, 2017 | 2 Min Read

In this 3-part blog series, we discuss how each...
Digital Shadows Announcement

Five Reasons Why Alex Seton VP of Business and Corporate Development, Joined Digital Shadows

March 21, 2017 | 3 Min Read

What a great feeling to find a company that cuts...
Top 3 blogs

The Top Three Most Popular Blogs of 2016

December 8, 2016 | 2 Min Read

It’s been a great year for the Digital Shadows...
Adaptation

Resilience: Adapt or Fail

October 28, 2016 | 5 Min Read

“But it ain’t how hard you hit; it’s about...
4 Tricks to Make a Cybersecurity Training a Treat

4 Tricks to Make a Cybersecurity Training a Treat

October 12, 2016 | 3 Min Read

A Halloween nightmare: Thunderstorms rage...
Professional Services Digital Shadows

Digital Risk Monitoring Is A Service, Not a Distinct Capability

October 11, 2016 | 2 Min Read

Digital Shadows was recently recognized as a...
Forrester

Digital Risk Monitoring Can Negate ‘Indicators of Exhaustion’

September 26, 2016 | 2 Min Read

When I first joined Digital Shadows in January, I...
exploit kits

Three easy tips to staying safe online

September 19, 2016 | 4 Min Read

While security is everyone’s responsibility,...
security culture

Security Culture: You’re only as strong as your team

August 18, 2016 | 4 Min Read

When you’re hurt you feel pain, you see a cut...
Digital Shadows Announcement

Digital Shadows – The Innovation Continues

May 13, 2016 | 2 Min Read

This week, Digital Shadows will turn five years...
Mergers and acquisitions

It’s time to put the diligence into your M&A due diligence

March 29, 2016 | 2 Min Read

The headlines resulting from the Target/Fazio...
Digital Shadows Announcement

Why I joined Digital Shadows

January 28, 2016 | 3 Min Read

Departing Forrester Research wasn’t an easy...
Bloomberg Business

Digital Shadows honored as Bloomberg Business Top Innovator

January 26, 2016 | 1 Min Read

We're pleased to announce that Bloomberg Business...
Digital Shadows Announcement

Digital Shadows Welcomes Rick Holland as Vice President of Strategy

January 19, 2016 | 1 Min Read

Last year was an exciting time for Digital...
Digital Shadows Announcement

Digital Shadows Invited To 10 Downing Street

September 8, 2015 | 2 Min Read

Digital Shadows invited to 10 Downing...
Digital Shadows Announcement

Digital Shadows joins roundtable at 10 Downing Street

September 8, 2015 | 1 Min Read

Digital Shadows invited to 10 Downing...
Remote

Remote working at Digital Shadows

September 8, 2015 | 6 Min Read

This post will cover some of the challenges...
Digital Shadows Announcement

Digital Shadows Integrates With Maltego Through Partnership With Malformity Labs

September 7, 2015 | 4 Min Read

The need for organizations to focus on their risk...
Announcement

Exciting Times, Exciting Team at Digital Shadows

September 4, 2015 | 4 Min Read

Yesterday we announced that Stuart McClure,...
Digital Shadows Announcement

Digital Shadows and ThreatConnect Partner to Help Customers Improve Security Defenses

September 4, 2015 | 2 Min Read

One of the foundational values of Digital Shadows...