CISOs aren’t leading by example when it comes to cyber security

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New research has found that cyber security leaders may not lead by example and fail to obey security measures they ask staff to abide by.

According to a new report by Constella Intelligence, one in four global IT security leaders have used the same password for work and personal use. Of the respondents, 39% say they haven't changed their work email passwords within the last 30 days.

The survey also found that nearly half (45%) of cyber security leaders connect to public Wi-Fi without using a VPN, putting themselves and their entire organizations at risk. Something the FBI regularly warns users not to do.

The survey also found that 48% of CISOs use their work computers to log into social network platforms, and 63% of CISOs were willing to accept connections from unknown LinkedIn users.

The report, titled Cyber Risk in Today's Hyperconnected World, found that most organizations don't monitor social media for threats against their brand.

"More than half of respondents do not have a formal policy, process, or partner to monitor the digital public sphere—including social media, blogs, forums, or other spaces where threats to brands and executives commonly emerge—for threats that can ultimately have a damaging impact on brand and brand reputation," the report's authors said.


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The survey revealed that 57% had suffered an account takeover (ATO) attack in their personal lives—most frequently through email (52%), followed by LinkedIn (31%) and Facebook (26%).

The research also found that almost three-quarters (74%) of cyber security leaders reported being a phishing or vishing attack's target in the last 90 days. One-third (34%) say they have been targeted in a phishing or vishing attack from someone impersonating their CEO.

"More than ever before, individuals and companies alike need to ensure that a robust and secure environment is in place," said Constella Intelligence CEO Kailash Ambwani.

"Amidst the rise in cyber attacks to organizations, many of which are perpetrated through C-suite impersonations, employee cyber security awareness is now arguably as important as an organization's security infrastructure. And as the professional and personal spheres become increasingly digitally intertwined, both leaders and employees must pay close attention to the role each one of us plays in collective cyber security hygiene."

Rene Millman

Rene Millman is a freelance writer and broadcaster who covers cybersecurity, AI, IoT, and the cloud. He also works as a contributing analyst at GigaOm and has previously worked as an analyst for Gartner covering the infrastructure market. He has made numerous television appearances to give his views and expertise on technology trends and companies that affect and shape our lives. You can follow Rene Millman on Twitter.