Cyber attacks, in the popular imagination, come like thieves in the night. Masked men skulk undetected around tripwires and motion sensors, tip-toeing to their targets without triggering the alarms.
In reality however, cyber threats are often caught under bright lights, with fingers pointed at them from all directions. Still, they manage to take their prizes anyway. Some of the most devastating data breaches in history have occurred when alerts and warnings were ignored. The Equifax hack could have been avoided if a security technician hadn’t overlooked an email requesting a critical security patch. The SEC did nothing with years of urgent recommendations to encrypt sensitive financial data that would go on to be breached. The Home Depot breach of 56 million payment card numbers was attributed to managers who repeatedly ignored warnings from staff that security wasn’t strict enough. (The managers responded, according to the New York Times, “we sell hammers.”)