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Opinion

Humans are not the weakest link of cybersecurity—they are its strongest asset

By Benoît Dupont      

In an era where digital technologies have colonized every aspect of our daily lives, blaming users for the harms they experience online is shortsighted and fails to acknowledge the scale of the problem.

To prioritize the user’s perspective, we need to invest as much time and effort to understand how cultural, social, and psychological processes contribute to security outcomes as we currently do to develop new cutting-edge security technologies, writes Benoît Dupont. Photograph courtesy of Pexels

It is common to hear cybersecurity experts blame users when asked to reflect on why the situation is so dire in their field, often describing them as the “weakest link” in the digital ecosystem. Computer scientists and technical support professionals have crafted several sarcastic acronyms for users challenged by the technical complexity of computer systems. Terms such as PEBMAC (problem exists between monitor and chair), 1D-10T error (idiot error), PICNIC (problem in chair, not in computer), IBM error (idiot behind machine error), and other variants convey the disdain that some digital system designers and operators have for the average user.

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