Keynote Roundup: Dr Jessica Barker

Infosecurity Europe

Keynote Roundup: Dr Jessica Barker, Independent, Cyber Security Professional

Missed Dr Jessica Barker’s keynote on How to Hack a Human: Anatomy of a Social Engineering Attack? Not to worry, here’s an overview of all the key points.



What was covered in your Infosecurity Europe keynote?

  • A look at the human drivers behind cyber security, particularly focused on social engineering and why people fall for social engineering attacks.
  • The elements of human nature and social norms that mean we are particularly susceptible to being deceived, manipulated and giving away information or access to systems we shouldn’t.

Why is that such an important issue for the industry at the moment?

  • Social engineering is as old as time, as old as mankind, being conned and being manipulated into doing or giving away something that you shouldn’t.
  • With the rise of the internet and the way that we use, store and share information social engineering has become more popular as a way of attacking an organisation or getting information out of an individual.
  • Research recently published suggested phishing emails are at a 12 year high.
  • Social engineering has never been used more, so its really important to raise awareness and encourage behavioural change.

What were the key points the audience took away from your session?

  • The fact that there are parts of being human that make us susceptible to being deceived.
  • We like to be kind, we like to be reciprocal, if someone gives us something we like to give something back.
  • We can be naïve around technology and around people trying to do something bad.
  • We are by nature curious, it’s hard to resist an email that is suggesting it is related to you or someone you know.
  • When it comes to information security we need to think about how we can work with human nature to stop people falling for these attacks.
  • That comes down to looking at psychology, sociology and behavioural economics; how we can nudge people away from doing something negative towards doing something more security positive.

 How do you think this issue will develop over the next 12 months?

  • There will be a rise again in social engineering attacks, getting more sophisticated and more convincing.
  • The trend of targeting senior people within the organisation and those that hold the money will continue and attacks will get more and more targeted, going after more money.
  • Hopefully there will also be a rise in awareness resulting in users becoming more savvy and therefore changes in behaviours to become more secure.

Like what you’ve heard so far? You can listen to Jessica’s full keynote or download the podcast from Itunes below.


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