New research also uncovered that CEOs, vice presidents and other executives are four times more likely to be victims of phishing compared to other employees.
Ivanti has announced the results of its State of Security Preparedness 2023 Study. Ivanti worked with cybersecurity experts and surveyed 6,500 executive leaders, cybersecurity professionals, and office workers to understand the perception of today's cybersecurity threats and find out how companies are preparing for yet-unknown future threats.
The report revealed that despite a stunning 97% of leaders and security professionals reporting their organisation is as prepared or more prepared to defend against cybersecurity attacks than they were a year ago, one-in-five "wouldn't bet a chocolate bar" they could prevent a damaging breach.
In fact, the study finds that organisations are racing to fortify against cyber-attacks, but the industry still struggles with a reactive, checklist mentality. This is most pronounced in how security teams are prioritising patches. While 92 per cent of security professionals reported they have a method to prioritise patches, they also indicated that all types of patches rank high meaning take priority.
"Patching is not nearly as simple as it sounds," says Dr. Srinivas Mukkamala, Chief Product Officer at Ivanti.
"Even well-staffed, well-funded IT and security teams experience prioritisation challenges amidst other pressing demands. To reduce risk without increasing workload, organisations must implement a risk-based patch management solution and leverage automation to identify, prioritise, and even address vulnerabilities without excess manual intervention."
Cybersecurity insiders view phishing, ransomware, and software vulnerabilities as top industry-level threats for 2023. Approximately half of respondents indicated they are very prepared to meet the growing threat landscape, including ransomware, poor encryption, and malicious employees, but expected safeguards such as deprovisioning credentials are ignored a third of the time, and nearly half of those surveyed say they suspect a former employee or contractor still has active access to company systems and files.
The report also revealed that leaders engage in more dangerous behaviour and are four times more likely to be victims of phishing compared to office workers.
Additionally, more than 1-in-3 leaders have clicked on a phishing link; nearly 1-in-4 use easy-to-remember birthdays as part of their password; they are much more likely to hang on to passwords for years; and they are 5x more likely to share their password with people outside the company.
One survey taker shared, "We hve experienced a few advanced phishing attempts, and the employees were totally unaware they were being targeted. These types of attacks have become so much more sophisticated over the last two years even our most experienced staff are falling prey to it."
Mukkamala says, "To cope with a rapidly expanding threat landscape, organisations must move beyond a reactive, rules-based approach."