blog-newspaper.jpeg One of my favorite all-time cast members from Saturday Night Live was Norm MacDonald. In particular, when he did his Weekend Update reports featuring “the fake news.” Little did we know that the “fake news” would actually become a thing. If you use the interwebs, then you likely have been exposed to the fake news, but folks on both sides of the aisle – and folks outside of our country apparently – amped up the fake news in the run-up to our late presidential election.

What does fake news have to do with cyber security?

Probably to me, one of the most interesting things about these fake news stories is that they all have catchy “click bait” titles that you want to click on. “You’ll Never Guess What (insert candidate name here) Said About (insert topic here)” and such. And we all know what happens when employees click on catchy titles… you see an increased risk of phishing and malicious software introduction from employees registering for web sites because they want to read that fake news article they just clicked on. Although not directly impacting a company, these additional security exposures greatly increase the risk of employees being compromised. How? Employees let their guard down not realizing that clicking on links are equally as dangerous as links sent via email.

Reducing the Risk

There are two ways you can reduce the risk of bad behaviors like this:
  • Take the standard preventative measures to remove administrative rights from the endpoint. Doing so limits the surface area exposed to an attack. If a user doesn’t have the rights and permissions to access sensitive areas of the network, data, etc., then that attack gets cut off.
  • Increase awareness at the layer of proxy control for employees – basically modeling what “good” and “bad” behavior looks like.
If you would like to learn the one weird trick for reducing belly fat, or the three steps to pay off debt (ohmigosh, number 2 blew my mind!), we can’t help you. But, if you choose to allow your users to access the internet and read articles online during work hours, there are IT best practices in place to mitigate the risks of the negative consequences.