The Why of Cyberattacks

When an organization suffers a cyberattack, there’s a race during the aftermath to attribute the cause. The root cause is often identified as a vulnerability that wasn’t patched or a compromised password, but simply deducing “how” an attacked occurred misses the bigger picture of “why” it occurred.

Security breaches often result from a cascade of failures made possible by a flawed cybersecurity strategy. Digging deeper into the reasons why vulnerabilities aren’t remediated in a timely manner or why a stolen password is sufficient to compromise a system can provide valuable insight into the organizational decisions or oversights that ultimately led to the breach.


Too often organizations are lulled into a false sense of security because they’ve never experienced a cyberattack or because they’re meeting their compliance requirements. This complacency leads a reactive, check-the-box approach to security that often fails address actual threats.

Your defense should employ both proactive and reactive strategies to prepare for attacks that haven’t yet occurred. It’s also important to use meaningful metrics to measure the effectiveness of your cybersecurity program, rather than rely on compliance as a stand in for true security.

Not Accounting for the Human Element

Verizon’s latest annual Data Breach Investigations Report revealed that 82% of breaches involved a human element. People are the weakest link in your cyber defense, and the new hybrid work environment is a compounding factor.

Organizations that place their faith in technical security solutions, while overlooking the critical role that people play in a cybersecurity program, are leaving a gaping hole in their defense. Successful social engineering attacks can often be traced back to a company culture that doesn’t regularly train its staff in cyber hygiene or promote security awareness at the leadership level.

Assessing and Accepting Risk

The “why” behind a successful cyberattack can frequently be boiled down to an organizational failure to properly assess risk. There’s often a disconnect between cybersecurity teams and company leadership that prevents cyber risk from being incorporated into business decisions. Cyber risk assessments enable your organization to quantify the security costs and benefits associated with a given decision. Without this insight, organizations are likely to accept risks they don’t fully understand, perhaps without even realizing it. These uninformed decisions can easily lead to an unexpected and unacceptable security breach.

Assessing risk is hard. It requires a thorough understanding of your organization’s assets and a clear view of its vulnerability to specific cyber threats. MBL Technologies can help with our comprehensive suite of cybersecurity services, including expert risk assessments, security awareness training, vulnerability management and threat intelligence.

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