Do you punish someone who has Malware?

Recently I was on a CIO Leaders Summit panel and there were three delegates, each reporting back from the breakouts - on Customer Experience, Digital and Cyber Security.

My group was Customer Experience; which I explained embraced all the elements of Digital, Cyber Security and Analytics. We had a great debate and banter until, one of my colleagues commented when a staff member gets malware he wants to “cut off their hand”.

The idea of punishing someone for getting Malware is abhorrent to myself. But if you are a CISO, then you have mobilise your team and address the issue. But what is the right answer here:

The case to punish

It is simple, the respective individual has been irresponsible and created a risk for the business by visiting a site or clicking a link. For that they should be punished and bring out the big stick.

The stick, will start to change the behavior of the staff that don’t care or are reckless. This makes the CISO and his team, potentially seen as the police who exist to catch the bad guys both internally and externally.

The case against punishing

Again, the principle is simple. If you want to punish staff for getting malware, then this will mean that this goes unreported or at least is delayed as the consequences are feared.

When it comes to malware, we just need to have the issue addressed as soon as possible and then this can be isolated. By making the CISO a more benevolent manager that does not punish a staff member and even avoids scolding that person.

Read more: The Failed Promise of New Cyber Security approaches.

Let’s remember that malware when it is phishing is targeting executives and board members. I don’t think punishing them or scolding is a good career move.

Read more: The IT-security divide is limiting full cyber attack chain analysis, expert warns

New thinking on this problem

Recently, I came across a new startup that is attempting to tackle this issue using employee-based intrusion prevention system with automated phishing-mitigation response. Ironscales out of Israel is a startup that trains staff for malware using gamification – employees are presented with simulations of real-world email phishing attacks.

I think you get the picture about being battle hardened and prepared for the enemy. In this case staff are the front line of the attack and when they are able to spot a malware attack, they become assets rather than the liability.

Should I Reward Behaviour?

Yes, I think that is the only way to combat this threat. By engaging your team with ‘carrot and stick’ then perhaps you stand a better chance. Put simply you can offer a ‘carrot’ to staff that report malware, or go further and look at options such as Ironscales.

Originally I thought that this might be taking it too far, to reward staff for reporting this the helpdesk, but that is better than just punishing them for telling you.

It is a dilemma, and if you get the tension right it will help you with this battle.

Participate in this short survey on IT security strategies across the Australian market and go in the draw to WIN a 360Fly camera vailued at $689.

Start survey NOW

Join the CSO newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags digital securityRewardIronscalesCISOpunishCIOmalwarecyber security

More about

Show Comments

Featured Whitepapers

Editor's Recommendations

Solution Centres

Stories by David Gee

Latest Videos

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: Will your data protection strategy be enough when disaster strikes?

    Speakers: - Paul O’Connor, Engagement leader - Performance Audit Group, Victorian Auditor-General’s Office (VAGO) - Nigel Phair, Managing Director, Centre for Internet Safety - Joshua Stenhouse, Technical Evangelist, Zerto - Anthony Caruana, CSO MC & Moderator

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: The Human Factor - Your people are your biggest security weakness

    ​Speakers: David Lacey, Researcher and former CISO Royal Mail David Turner - Global Risk Management Expert Mark Guntrip - Group Manager, Email Protection, Proofpoint

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: Current ransomware defences are failing – but machine learning can drive a more proactive solution

    Speakers • Ty Miller, Director, Threat Intelligence • Mark Gregory, Leader, Network Engineering Research Group, RMIT • Jeff Lanza, Retired FBI Agent (USA) • Andy Solterbeck, VP Asia Pacific, Cylance • David Braue, CSO MC/Moderator What to expect: ​Hear from industry experts on the local and global ransomware threat landscape. Explore a new approach to dealing with ransomware using machine-learning techniques and by thinking about the problem in a fundamentally different way. Apply techniques for gathering insight into ransomware behaviour and find out what elements must go into a truly effective ransomware defence. Get a first-hand look at how ransomware actually works in practice, and how machine-learning techniques can pick up on its activities long before your employees do.

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: Get real about metadata to avoid a false sense of security

    Speakers: • Anthony Caruana – CSO MC and moderator • Ian Farquhar, Worldwide Virtual Security Team Lead, Gigamon • John Lindsay, Former CTO, iiNet • Skeeve Stevens, Futurist, Future Sumo • David Vaile - Vice chair of APF, Co-Convenor of the Cyberspace Law And Policy Community, UNSW Law Faculty This webinar covers: - A 101 on metadata - what it is and how to use it - Insight into a typical attack, what happens and what we would find when looking into the metadata - How to collect metadata, use this to detect attacks and get greater insight into how you can use this to protect your organisation - Learn how much raw data and metadata to retain and how long for - Get a reality check on how you're using your metadata and if this is enough to secure your organisation

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: How banking trojans work and how you can stop them

    CSO Webinar: How banking trojans work and how you can stop them Featuring: • John Baird, Director of Global Technology Production, Deutsche Bank • Samantha Macleod, GM Cyber Security, ME Bank • Sherrod DeGrippo, Director of Emerging Threats, Proofpoint (USA)

    Play Video

More videos

Blog Posts

Market Place