October 2, 2017

Are you sick of hearing about Love Island in the staff room? Did you overhear a colleague talking about Beyonce having twins or Jay Z’s cheating scandal? Or, did you read the post your work mate shared about the THREE Kardashians being pregnant…at the same time?

Unfortunately, while you may not care…many do – including your employees – and cybercriminals are using this as bait to compromise your organisation.

Writing this blog, I have to be completely honest, I am obsessed with celebrity gossip. Every sort, be it: movie stars, musicians EVEN pointless reality TV stars – on an international basis… I can’t help but want to know! It has become part of my daily routine to read, what I readily admit, is utter drivel. And while you may think this cathartic outburst is nothing more than a comedic anecdote, it is in fact, the reason I am writing this.

Hidden beneath my shameful penchant for celebrity gossip could lie lethal consequences for the organisation in which I work. I, like many of your employees, may be unassumingly enjoying break time coffees while reading about Scott and Kady’s split or Zayne and Gigi’s blossoming romance whilst using employer’s Wi-Fi and computers. But, did you know malicious news reports could infect a device with malicious ransomware, rendering client information accessible to a fraudster? You could even be held to ransom and such a data breach could have a serious impact on the organisation as a whole.

While this type of hook may not catch you, can you be sure no one in your workplace would click the link to appease their appetite for the latest, juiciest gossip… at whatever cost?

Would any of your employees be tempted to click on this ‘breaking news’?

McAfee revealed, for the 11th year, the list of the riskiest celebrities to search for online. And, while you may be as shocked as I am that the number 1 entry is Avril Lavigne, the following entries may not surprise you:

  • Bruno Mars
  • Carly Rae Jepson
  • Zayn Malik
  • Celine Dion
  • Calvin harris
  • Justin Beiber
  • Diddy
  • Katy Pery
  • Beyonce

Then again, you may also have no idea who these ‘celebrities’ are… but, ask any one of your celebrity enthused employees and they’ll confirm that the common denominator in this list is that they are all musicians. Fraudsters are grooming the unsuspecting public with the promise of a free download or a free graphic image… but only, if you click on the link or sign in to your online social media profile via a phishing website first.

This problem is not exclusive to musicians. Celebrity culture, as a whole, is being targeted-especially since our obsession with reality TV celebrities is also on the rise. Worryingly, a study conducted by Onepoll found that ‘nearly 4 in 10 of the nation watch some sort of reality TV’ and further analysis stated ‘50% of this is made up of 25-34-year olds’ – does any of your workforce fall in to this category? While the Social Comparison Theory notes watching reality stars on TV makes us ‘feel better about ourselves and our own lives’ can we really justify a cyber-attack for the fleeting smirk that the current state of Katie Price’s tumultuous relationship spurs?

Think before you click the link!

You might be confident that the latest celebrity headline wouldn’t peak your attention, but are you equally as confident about your employees?

It’s crucial that everyone within your organisation is aware of the types of threats out there. By building awareness, your organisation will keep your employees safe in both their personal and professional lives.

Don’t want your organisation compromised courtesy of Jay Z? It’s time to start thinking about security awareness training and simulated phishing emails to raise the game within your organisation and to build towards a positive security culture.

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