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IT pros question executives’ cyber security literacy

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IT professionals have questioned the fact that many C-level executives at some of the world’s largest companies believe they are cyber security literate.

Security firm Tripwire commissioned a study of 400 business executives and IT security professionals at Fortune 500 companies. It found that 100 per cent of C-level executives and 84 per cent of non C-level executives consider themselves “cyber security literate”.

However, these results come on the back of the worst year for cyber attacks on record in 2014. Indeed, IT staff seemed to question these claims, with a third of IT executives rating the board as only “marginally literate” when it comes to cyber security.

Dwayne Melançon, chief technology officer for Tripwire, commented on the findings: “There’s a big difference between cyber security awareness and cyber security literacy. If the vast majority of executives were really literate about cyber security risks, then spear phishing wouldn’t work.

“I think these results are indicative of the growing awareness that the risks connected with cyber security are business critical, but it would appear the executives either don’t understand how much they have to learn about cyber security, or they don’t want to admit that they that they don’t understand the business impact of these risks.”

The report, entitled ‘The Cyber Security Literacy Confidence Gap’, also found a discrepancy in the views of different professionals when it came to the accuracy of the tools their organisation uses to present cyber security risks to the board. Of the C-level executives asked, only 65 per cent said they were confident they were using the right tools to communicate these important issues to the board; among non C-level executives there was more confidence, with 87 per cent satisfied; while IT executives sat in the middle as 78 per cent were happy with the accuracy of the tools.

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