The Human Side of Cyber Crime: Personality Types and the Cyber-Crime that Loves Them

02/09/2019 09:15:55
Cybercrime statistics are frightening and victims are becoming more mainstream. With a 58.4%  internet penetration rate globally, a significant portion of the global population are connected, with the highest concentration in Asia, with 49% of the worlds internet users. Asia also tops the population charts with 55% of the world’s population. With this heavy concentration of internet users from vastly different backgrounds, cultures, regions and lifestyles – it’s safe to assume there is someone who is susceptible to each and every type of cyber-attack.

The “16 Personalities” Myers-Briggs study has been all the rage lately, with their “freakishly accurate” personality descriptions based on a free online test – and it was freakishly accurate when we took the test – for research. For those who don’t know this test intimately, or can’t refer to their personality type by its acronym (a colleague excitedly referred to himself as a “INTJ” as we chatted about this article), the 16 personality types come from a combination of Carl Jung's four basics: activity (introvert/extrovert), information absorption (sense/logic or intuition); decision-making (thinking or feeling); and life attitude (judging or perceiving). In conjunction with EU based ESET, Myers-Briggs has released a paper determining which personality types are most susceptible to particular types of cyber-attack.  “Cyberchology: The Human Factor” gives readers the following insights on personality types vs. cyber-vulnerability:

Extraverted personality types are often more susceptible to “social engineering” attacks using manipulation, deceit and persuasion, while their highly developed ability to tune-into or gauge the tone of social communication makes them more likely to recognize other more general or “outsider” type of attacks.  

Sensing (observers), perceiving (flexible and casual) and extravert (social) personality types are less susceptible to the phishing attacks that the extraverts fall prey too, but often engage in more risky cyber behaviour than their extravert counterparts.

Personality types including feeling and judging, who act based on personal values and enjoy structure, tend to fall victim to social engineering attacks but are very compliant with rules and regulations set out in cyber security policies (if there are any).

Thinking personality types use logic to see through social engineering attacks but sometimes, due to over confidence in their reasoning ability, fall victim to other types of attacks through sheer carelessness.

The researchers who compiled a similar study from Michigan State University explained, “An individual’s characteristics are critical in studying how cybercrime perseveres, particularly the person’s impulsiveness and the activities that they engage in while online that have the greatest impact on their risk.” This study has opened up a debate on how employers can use these personality tests to determine what kinds of cyber-safety training to provide for employees – and weighing this against personal need for privacy and how ethical it is to require a personality test of employees – something for another day but certainly note-worthy.

Why Sangfor?
As employment based on personality type will likely never be a “thing,” as all personality types have a place in a well-balanced workforce, the safest way to protect all your employees and businesses, regardless of the guile of cyber attackers, is a broad and comprehensive approach to network security. Implementing automated network security functions like Sangfor’s next generation firewall (NGAF) which is loaded with AI-powered features, application layer protection and malware inspection engines like Engine Zero, is the best way to protect your business from the inside-out. Consider deployment of Sangfor IAM, taking the secure web gateway to the next level by minimizing data leakage, unifying internet behaviour management for all networks and dramatically simplifying compliance.


About Sangfor Technologies
Founded in 2000 and a publicly traded company as of 2018 (SANGFOR STOCK CODE: 300454 (CH)), Sangfor Technologies is the global leading vendor of IT infrastructure solutions specializing in Network Security and Cloud Computing. Visit us at www.sangfor.com and get in touch with Sangfor Technologies today to see how we can empower IT to keep your network secure for all.  


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