Stop being ‘Autopilot’
Mindfulness nowadays has become a cool word for pursuing calmness and peace at heart. Mindfulness practice is getting more popular as it is now taught at schools, workplaces, hospitals all over the world. Let’s look at what ‘mindfulness’ really is first.
Let us start by looking at what is the opposite of mindfulness, “mindlessness”. Some people regard the state of mindlessness as ‘autopilot’ when we do things without thinking and let the episode of event happens on its own. Say for example, when you are on your own computer browsing around and suddenly, you realize you have entered your login and password to a nameless website. When it asks you if you want to proceed, mindlessly, you click ‘yes’. It is in the state of dreamlike where you are not really there, at the present. The way you are browsing the web is mind wandering and you are not aware of the risk or consequence of clicking or entering passwords. You just ignore all the things getting in your way to get it done.
According to the study by Harvard researcher and psychologist Matthew Killingsworth , 47% of the time of an average man is in ‘autopilot’ state when their minds are wandering around. This study took a large sampling of 15,000 individuals. The sampling included people across the socio-economic stratosphere, of varying levels of education, age, occupation, incomes, marital status and across 80 countries. When the minds are wandering, it provides the adversaries with a golden opportunity to break into any kind of digital assets. Cybercrimnals and attacking tools are engineered to exploit such human weakness. To us, this kind of mindlessness will lead to data breach as cybersecurity is not just a technical problem but mainly a human problem. More exactly, 90-95% of attacks on organizations are attacks on the employees.
Mindfulness is a way to pull you out from the ‘autopilot’ state and be alert of the present. It also helps us maintain awareness of the purpose, logical thinking and surrounding circumstances. We are advocating the same mindfulness in cybersecurity. This would involve a corporate culture change which will help staff to develop a cybersecurity awareness that will boost the mindfulness and engagement of the corporate cybersecurity program. Everyone has a part to play. Every employee is no longer a passive receiver of being told what is the DO or DON’T. By building a cybersecurity mindfulness, the employees stop wandering around when they engage in any daily routine on their PC and they will have less chance to be the next victim of a data breach or cyber-attack.