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Beyond Technology: Assessing Human Risk in Penetration Testing

As a Cyber Security Decision maker based in the UK, you’ve got a lot on your plate. You’re tasked with keeping your company safe, and you’re probably investing a lot in technology and compliance to do just that.

But do you sometimes feel like you’re not getting the whole picture with your current penetration tests? It’s like you’re seeing only half the story of how your company would handle a real cyber-attack.

The Human Factor in Cyber Security

Here’s the thing – a big concern in Cyber Security isn’t just the tech; it’s also about your people. How cyber aware are your employees? Sure, you’ve got the tech defences up, but if an attack happens with a fake email, do you feel confident that your employees would know what to do?

Companies are really ramping up their tech with top-tier firewalls and ultra-strong encryption to safeguard their systems. But all it takes is one click from someone on the team, and suddenly, those iron-clad defences might as well have a welcome mat for hackers.

Think about a company that’s locked down tight with the latest in Cyber Security. Then picture this: a regular day, and an email that looks like it’s from a colleague lands in their inbox. It blends in, just another message in a sea of many.

But here’s where things go sideways. In the rush of a day filled with meetings and urgent tasks, a team member clicks on a link in that email, assuming it’s just another work document. Except it isn’t, it’s fake.

It’s a crafty phishing scam, and with that single click, they’ve unknowingly given a hacker access to your internal systems. In a blink, the company’s strong security is compromised by what seemed like a routine action.

But this isn’t news to you, right? Keeping an eye out for such threats is likely a key part of your Cyber Security strategy.

Uncovering the Truth: The Reality of Phishing Attack Statistics

Unfortunately, this kind of scenario is all too common. The UK’s National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) says that an overwhelming 70% of cyber breaches are because of phishing attacks. Hackers are getting crafty, using our everyday habits and instincts against us to trick us into slip-ups. It’s a stark reminder of the crucial role our day-to-day decisions have in keeping our online world secure.

The Full Spectrum of Cyber Threats

Understanding every angle of an attack is crucial for effective security. Traditional pen tests focus a lot on the tech side – finding gaps in networks, apps, and firewalls. But they often miss a big piece of the puzzle: how easily your people might be manipulated by cyber-criminals.

It’s vital to know how your employees might accidentally open the door to cyber-criminals. Testing their reactions to things like a phishing scam or impersonation attempts can reveal a lot about their awareness and how they’d respond in a real situation.

Real attackers don’t just use software glitches to get in; they use psychology. They’ll try to worm their way in with deceptive emails, phishing scams, or even by tricking your employees into giving away passwords. To get a real sense of how your defences would stand up to an attack, your pen tests need to mirror this.

A real-world case study:

A Technology Firm’s Cyber Security Revolution: Mastering Real-World Threats with Human Insight and Penetration Testing.

The management team sat down for their annual security review. “Our Penetration Tests are thorough but are they providing realistic security insights?” pondered Sarah, the CISO. They knew their servers were fortresses, but what about the people running them? They needed a test that mirrored a real hacker’s approach — targeting not just systems, but people.

Building a Resilient Organisation

A comprehensive pen test that includes these human-centric assessments offers a more realistic picture of how tough your organisation is against cyber threats. It helps you spot potential weak spots proactively, so you can come up with strategies that strengthen both your tech and your team’s awareness.

Remember, in the fight against cyber threats, your people are as important as your technology. By looking at both, you get the full picture and a stronger defence.

Request Penetration Testing Pricing

If you’re ready to take your Cyber Security to the next level, reach out to Equilibrium Security. Our experts Penetration Testers are here to provide realistic security insights and improve your security where it matters most.

Call us on 0121 663 0055 or email

Ready to achieve your security goals? We’re at your service.

Whether you are a CISO, an IT Director or a business owner, Equilibrium has the
expertise to help you shape and deliver your security strategy.

About the author

Amelia Frizzell is a skilled Marketing Manager at Equilibrium Security, specialising in Cyber Security content writing. She blends her marketing expertise with Cyber Security insights to produce practical, informative content that educates your business and promotes security awareness/best practice.
Amelia Frizzell
Marketing and Operations Manager

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