PCI Services Blog

What is a Human Firewall? and how it differs from a firewall appliance

Posted by Richard Common on 11-Jan-2017 13:06:38
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Cyber attacks and breaches in data security and IT security happen almost every single day. Many presume that software gaps or technology mistakes wholly contribute to these attacks, but in reality, human mistakes contribute about 31% of these cyber breaches.

Almost everyone has heard of revered and renowned high profile companies that have had their fair share of high-value breaches, the following being some of the largest (see Identity Force):

  • University of Central Florida

  • U.S. Department of Justice

  • UC Berkeley

  • Snapchat

  • Verizon Enterprise Solutions

  • Tidewater Community College

  • Wendy’s

  • LinkedIn

  • Oracle

  • Dropbox

  • Yahoo!

  • Cisco

  • AdultFriendFinder.com

One thing is certain here; these companies will have massive infrastructure to deal with any malicious efforts to access their networks.

As happens in numerous scenarios, humans are responsible for initiating a lot of business breaches, nearly always from the inside of the network. This is most prevalent in SMB/SME organisations. Humans continually create vulnerabilities for many companies regardless of size and shape.

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These weaknesses have to do with patching, missing updates, access management, misconfiguration and bad technology utilisation. Humans tend to solely focus on speed and disregard intricacies that might include side-stepping measures that expose them to risks. It is important that industry players understand that humans are basically an extension of the entire computer system.

Whilst computers systems and network infrastructure have security measures installed on them to prevent unauthorized access, humans lack those automated controls and so have to be alert and aware at all times.

A human firewall can be defined as the personal or sentimental aspect of guarding one's network. Human firewalls centre on security awareness training at every organisational level. This systematic security awareness training will teach humans to be super sensitive to vulnerabilities they are able to pinpoint and take necessary steps to alleviate or minimise risks which automated systems cannot control.

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Topics: IT Services, Best Practice, Security

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