The Human Element: The “Trigger” on Cyber Weapons

  • John J. McGonagle
Part of the Advanced Sciences and Technologies for Security Applications book series (ASTSA)


This chapter discusses the protection of businesses from cyber penetrations using the lessons and principles of defending firms against competitive intelligence operations. Although popular culture could lead one to believe that cyber penetrations are all about devices and software exploits, the reality is that the human element plays a pivotal part. In our high-tech society, cyber penetrations all too often rely on low-tech approaches, which can often easily be foiled by alert employees and contractors. Without employee and contractor gullibility, it would be difficult to impossible to penetrate a well-crafted cyber-security system. Like the first reported swindler who conned people in to giving them their watches, today’s con artists are focused on big prizes—information. This chapter examines data and the methods businesses can use to identify what is critical to their operations, and some simple, yet effective ways to protect it. These approaches are used in competitive intelligence and state that regardless of the high-tech environment in which corporations operate, cyber penetrations are often facilitated by low-tech approaches via the human element.


Attack vector Best practice Confidence trick Cyber penetration Data breach Hacking Hostile penetration Phishing Social engineering Vital information asset 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The Helicon GroupBlandonUSA

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