NIST: Computer Users at Work and Home Engage in Risky Behavior

Oct. 31, 2016

Security fatigue is causing many to bypass recommended online safety measures for convenience, leaving many systems at risk.

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) released a study with demonstrative evidence showing a majority of computer users engage in highly risky behavior when computing at work and at home.

The term for this phenomenon, dubbed, “security fatigue,” happens after computer users become desensitized to overwhelming amounts of security alerts pertaining to their password strength, virus blockers, spam filters, etc. In short, this fatigue embodies the sum total of the weariness and reluctance to deal with computer security.

FMs should take this revelation very seriously since their buildings hold access to information about their facilities’ security and other critical systems.

Examples of security fatigue include using an old password because it is easier to remember, or using the exact 4-digit number for your online banking card PIN and your passcode to unlock your iPhone.

“The finding that the general public is suffering from security fatigue is important because it has implications in the workplace and in people’s everyday life,” said cognitive psychologist and co-author Brian Stanton. “It is critical because so many people bank online, and since health-care and other valuable information is being moved to the Internet. If people can’t use security, they are not going to, and then we and our nation won’t be secure.”

To see more details about the study, please visit Security Fatigue.

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