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Cyber Threats Are Getting Personal For CXOs — The Next High Value Target

Cyber Threats Are Getting Personal For CXOs — The Next High Value Target

We live in a world that has become extensively digital, and the amount of data getting generated every single day by companies, organisations, governments, is also skyrocketing, posing significant hacking risks.

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If you look at it from a hacker’s point of view, an executive is definitely the HVT (high-value target) to hunt as they most of the time possess some of the most important and confidential trade secrets of a business. Another prime reason is that executives mostly have greater access privileges to a lot of critical applications compared to other employees.

Therefore, it is high time that executives and senior-level managers should understand the hacking risks and start looking at aspects such as what data they possess, what is the quantity, what they do with that data, and what industry they’re in.

Important Of SAT For Executives

Having a dedicated team of risk managers, IT managers, and even security defence solutions such as firewalls is one thing, but incorporating cybersecurity training for everybody as part of the organisation’s security strategy is imperative. The cybersecurity team would definitely do their part, but it is always considered to be a good practice when every employee takes cyber security seriously in order to reduce exposure to data integrity attacks and other threats.

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According to a source, more than 70% of companies are vulnerable to insider threats. And this rate is just getting bigger — whether its a careless worker, a malicious insider or a feckless third party, insider threats can be really harmful. However, by the correct knowledge of how to detect and eliminate insider threats, executives can reduce the risk of getting hacked significantly.

The prime motive behind these training is to deliver knowledge of the domain — risks, threats, vulnerabilities, new techniques and methods that are necessary for facing possible security issues. These training definitely provide some level of maturity in responding when hit by a cyber attack and help a company greatly increases its security-related risk posture.

If we take a practical and no-sugar-coat look at an organisation’s hierarchy, many would agree that the number of senior-level managers and executives attending cybersecurity awareness training is not much. That shouldn’t be the case at all. Is security awareness training only for employees? Absolutely, not.

Executives that are not well-versed on how to protect themselves are always the HVTs. Therefore, conducting a security awareness training is not just about typical topics that employees are schooled in, but it should also cover things such as potential attacks specific to the role of an executive.

Talking about how an executive can fall prey to a hacker, there are several scenarios. For example, if a c-suit is travelling to a foreign destination and s/he isn’t bothered about using a VPN or virtual desktops while accessing data on the internet, then definitely they are putting themselves and their information at risk. That is not all, even the social media profiles could also act as a source of information for hackers, and later, that could be used for spear phishing.

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Training Approach

When we are talking about cybersecurity awareness training, it is not something that would be done in 30 mins or an hour. It might even take 3-4 hours for 2-3 days — after all the domain is vast.  When an executive joins a training session with other employees from the organisation, it shows dedication and commitment of the higher level workers. However, for an executive who is always on the go — for meetings and business deals, it might not be feasible.

As an alternative to that, executives can always take short-form, yet detailed training session, which is to-the-point and ensures that the key points are highlighted. Also, the trainer must make sure that they not just discuss topics that are particularly relevant to managers, but also provide solutions that could help them protect the data.


Over time we all have built a notion that hackers always use sophisticated technology to attack a company or organisation. However, that’s not the case every time. Today, hackers are relying more on humans and are finding the weakest links inside organisations. There are even instances when employee negligence was the reason that caused a data breach.

When it comes to cybersecurity, an organisation should never leave any stone unturned to fill voids. While employees of all levels across different organisations are getting started with security awareness training, it is high time that executives should also be concerned about it. When you are someone who is leading an organisation and possesses some of the most critical data, you definitely don’t want to be pwned.

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